NASA announced on Thursday that the new target for the SpaceX Crew-1 launch has been fixed for 7:49 p.m. EST Saturday, Nov. 14. This news comes after NASA delaying the launch date for the Crew-1 mission twice after multiple minor engine startup issues with previous unrelated Falcon 9 boosters (the same booster to be used for this mission). Coincidentally, today (Sunday) also marks 20 years of continued human presence at the International Space Station.
The Commercial Crew Program
After the successful launch of SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission that carried 2 astronauts to the International Space Station, the private company is ready to begin its first manned operational missions for NASA.
NASA and SpaceX’s Crew-1 Mission
The new Nov. 14 launch date is just a target date, as other NASA launches are. NASA and SpaceX will attempt to launch their 4-member crew to the International Space Station onboard the Crew Dragon + Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The Crew-1 mission will flown by NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The launch is expected to take place from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA’s press release says, “Crew-1 astronauts will join the Expedition 64 crew of Commander Sergey Ryzhikov, and Flight Engineers Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins. The arrival of Crew-1 will increase the regular crew size of the space station’s expedition missions from six to seven astronauts, adding to the amount of crew time available for research.”
NASA’s press release also says, “The Crew-1 mission will launch a few days after the Nov. 10 scheduled launch of NASA’s Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich mission on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, following a thorough review of launch vehicle performance.”
NASA and SpaceX’s Crew-2 Mission
NASA had also previously announced the crew for SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission on July 28, 2020. The astronauts flying the Crew-2 mission are NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, serving as spacecraft commander and pilot, and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, serving as mission specialists. “The Crew-2 astronauts will remain aboard the space station for approximately six months as expedition crew members, along with three crewmates who will launch via a Russian Soyuz spacecraft,” NASA’s press release says.
The International Space Station reaches 20 years of continued human presence
Monday marks 20 years of astronauts living in the International Space Station, APNews reports.
“The first crew — American Bill Shepherd and Russians Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko — blasted off from Kazakhstan on Oct. 31, 2000. Two days later, they swung open the space station doors, clasping their hands in unity.”