NASA, SpaceX to Launch Second Commercial Crew Rotation Mission to International Space Station. NASA is preparing for its SpaceX Crew-2 mission, which will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida no earlier than April 20. SpaceX Crew-2’s four astronauts will fly aboard the aerospace company’s Crew Dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9 rocket.
SpaceX Crew-2’s four astronauts will fly aboard the aerospace company’s Crew Dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9 rocket. The mission marks the first time in over 20 years that astronauts from NASA, the European Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency have flown together.
The crew is scheduled for a long-duration stay aboard the orbiting laboratory, spending several months conducting science and maintenance before the four astronauts return to Earth in fall 2021.
Lifting off from Launch Pad 39A on a Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon will accelerate its four passengers to approximately 17,500 mph and put it on an intercept course with the International Space Station. 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.
Commander Shane Kimbrough: Commander of the Crew Dragon Spacecraft Shane Kimbrough is the responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry.
He has spent a total of 189 days in space and performed six spacewalks. Kimbrough also is a retired U.S. Army colonel and earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and a master’s degree in operations research from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
He also will serve as an Expedition 65 flight engineer aboard the station. Selected as a NASA astronaut in 2004, Kimbrough first launched aboard space shuttle Endeavour for a visit to the station on the STS-126 mission in 2008, then aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for his first long-duration mission for Expedition 49/50 in 2016.
Crew Dragon Space Craft and Second in Command Megan McArthur: McArthur is responsible for spacecraft systems and performance. She also will be a long-duration space station crew member, making her first trip to the space station.
McArthur operated the shuttle’s robotic arm over the course of the 12 days, 21 hours she spent in space, capturing the telescope and moving crew members during the five spacewalks needed to repair and upgrade it. She holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a doctorate in oceanography from the University of California, San Diego.
Mission Specialist Akihiko Hoshide: He will work closely with the commander and pilot to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight.
Hoshide is a veteran of two spaceflights. In June 2008, he flew to the International Space Station on the STS-124 mission to deliver the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” to the station. From July to November 2012, he stayed on the space station for 124 days as a flight engineer for the Expedition 32/33 mission. The Crew Dragon will be the third spacecraft that Noguchi has flown to the orbiting laboratory.
Mission Specialist Thomas Pesquet: He working with the commander and pilot to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight.
He was selected as an astronaut candidate by ESA in May 2009 and worked as a Eurocom, communicating with astronauts during spaceflights from the mission control center.
After successfully docking, the astronauts of Crew-2 will be welcomed aboard station by the Expedition 65 crew, including the Crew-1 astronauts still onboard. The space station’s crew size will again expand to seven people, increasing the amount of crew time available for research. The Crew Dragon being used for this flight will remain docked to the station for the full length of a long-duration space station expedition, lasting approximately six months.
The Crew-2 astronauts will spend their time aboard the International Space Station conducting new and exciting scientific research in areas, such as medical technology, human health, and materials to benefit life on Earth.
Crew members will test the Butterfly IQ Ultrasound, a portable ultrasound device used in conjunction with a mobile computing device in the space environment. They also will conduct a variety of tissue engineering investigations, ranging from studies of bone, cardiovascular, muscle and liver health. An experiment from retail store Target will study cotton growth in microgravity to help identify more robust cotton varieties that require less water and pesticide use.
After all the conclusion for this mission, crew Dragon will autonomously undock with the four astronauts on board, depart the space station and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. After splashdown just off Florida’s coast, a SpaceX recovery vessel will pick up the crew and bring them back to shore to board a plane for return to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
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