1 week away: NASA, SpaceX's Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station

Photo from SpaceX

We are one week away from the next crewed launch into space.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting Thursday, April 22 for their second crew flight aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, carried by the company's Falcon 9 rocket.

Liftoff is currently scheduled for 6:11 a.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A. The crew will head to the International Space Station (ISS), with expected arrival on Friday morning.

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The crew for the flight is made up of NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. 


Photo from NASA

To prepare for the mission, NASA said on Tuesday that the astronauts have entered quarantine, also known as "flight crew health stabilization." It is a routine part of final preparations before space flight. They will spend two weeks isolated to ensure that they are healthy, protecting themselves and the astronauts they will meet at the ISS.

The Crew-2 astronauts will reportedly be the second crew to fly on a full-duration mission to the ISS on the Crew Dragon spacecraft. This will also be the first mission to fly two international partner crew members as part of the agency's commercial crew program.

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NASA said that the crew will spend six months in space. At the ISS, they will join Crew-1 NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi. In addition, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are also there.

The NASA, SpaceX Crew-1 mission lifted off on November 15, 2020. They are scheduled to return back to the Earth in late Spring 2021.

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The SpaceX crew missions are said to be part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Companies work with the space agency to develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems that can bring humans to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station.

Following this mission, NASA said that they are planning three more in 2021: SpaceX Crew-3, Boeing Crew Flight Test, and Boeing Starlink-1.

Three astronauts for the Crew-3 SpaceX launch have already been selected. They include two NASA astronauts and one astronaut from the European Space Agency (ESA).

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NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn will reportedly serve as commander and pilot while ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer will serve as the mission specialist. A fourth crew member will be announced at a later date. They will spend six months at the ISS and will have a slight overlap with the Crew-2 astronauts.

NASA's contract with SpaceX includes six total crew missions to the ISS.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for launch updates and to watch liftoff later this month.