NASA and SpaceX are gearing up for the second operational flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft. Four astronauts will hitch a ride in the Dragon, lifted into orbit atop the workhorse Falcon 9 booster, on Thursday, April 22. It’s going to be an early morning flight and here’s how you can follow along live.
There will be some familiar hardware helping the new crew get off this rock. “The Falcon 9 that will be used to launch this mission uses the same booster as NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1, marking the first time a flight-proven booster will be used for a crewed launch,” said NASA in a statement.
NASA TV will livestream the launch, which will take place at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The event is scheduled for 3:11 a.m. PT on Thursday, April 22. It will take roughly a day to reach the station.
NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough will be joined by the European Space Agency’s Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. All four have already been to space, prompting Pesquet to tweet in March, “I don’t mean to show off but this crew might have the most combined experience in spaceflight history!”
SpaceX and NASA are moving into the business-as-usual phase of their Commercial Crew Program partnership. The early test flights went well and thewent smoothly. Crew-2 marks the second crew rotation flight for Crew Dragon and the first with two international partner astronauts on board.
NASA is looking toward fall for the launch of a Crew-3 mission, which could take off as early as Oct. 23. Crew-2 would look to return to Earth not long after that.
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