SpaceX to send 4 astronauts to the ISS by Oct. 23

SpaceX to send 4 astronauts to the ISS by Oct. 23

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SpaceX’s next astronaut mission faces another launch delay.

The target launch date for SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission, its first fully operational crewed mission to space, has been pushed back from “no earlier than late September,” to “no earlier than Oct. 23, NASA announced in a statement on Aug. 14. 

The mission, which is set to launch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, won’t lift off until at least late October “to accommodate spacecraft traffic for the upcoming Soyuz crew rotation and best meet the needs of the International Space Station,” NASA wrote in the statement. 

Crew-1 will carry four astronauts to and from the space station — NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover and mission specialist Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut mission specialist Soichi Noguchi. 

The crew for SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission. From left to right are NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, mission specialist; Victor Oliver, pilot; and Mike Hopkins, Crew Dragon commander; and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, mission specialist.  (Image credit: SpaceX)

With this new timeline, Crew-1 will launch after NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov arrive at the space station  aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-17 craft. Crew-1’s liftoff will also follow the departure of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner from the station. 

Crew-1 will follow the success of SpaceX’s historic Demo-2 mission, which wrapped up earlier this month. Demo-2, the first orbital crewed flight test of a commercially owned and operated human spacecraft, carried NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to and from the space station aboard a Crew Dragon capsule.

Crew-1 won’t be cleared for flight, however, until NASA and SpaceX finish examining Demo-2 data and officially certify Crew Dragon and the Falcon 9 for operational crewed missions.

Commercial spaceflight milestones like the successful completion of Demo-2 and with Crew-1 will enable NASA “to regularly fly astronauts to the space station, ending sole reliance on Russia for space station access,” the agency stated today. 

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