NASA, SpaceX targeting October for next astronaut launch
After SpaceX’s historic Demo-2 launch in May, NASA and SpaceX announced today they are targeting no earlier than October 23 for the first operational flight with astronauts of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
Accordinng to the announcement, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission will be the first of regular rotational missions to the space station following completion of NASA certification. The mission will carry Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialist Shannon Walker, all of NASA, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission specialist Soichi Noguchi for a six-month science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory following launch from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
On May 30, NASA and Space X made history after SpaceX carried two NASA astronauts into space from American soil after nearly a decade. Space X becomes the first commercial company to take humans into space.
NASA said Crew-1 will launch in late October to accommodate spacecraft traffic for the upcoming Soyuz crew rotation and best meet the needs of the International Space Station. Launch will follow the arrival of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos aboard their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft and the departure of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner from the space station. The launch timeframe also allows for a crew handover with NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission next spring.