Next SpaceX commercial crew mission to launch in April

WASHINGTON – The second operational SpaceX commercial crew mission for the International Space Station will now launch in mid-April, carrying astronauts from Europe, Japan and the United States.

NASA said on January 29 that it set an April 20 launch date for the crew-2 mission at the station. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbruz and Megan McArthur, along with astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency and European Space Agency Thomas Peskett, will be commanders and pilots respectively.

Four crew-1s will replace the astronauts who flew to the station on the first operational crew dragon mission in November. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and JACAA astronaut Soichi Noguchi will return to that spacecraft in late April or early May, launching the crew-to in their current program.

NASA earlier announced a no-pre-launch launch date for the Crew-2 of 30 March. However, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew did not allow the vehicle to be launched before March 25. For about a week’s mission. Both Starliner and Crew Dragon Dock are in one of the two ports at the station, one of which is occupied by Crew-1 Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The 20 April delay also accommodates a Soyuz spacecraft, the Soyuz MS-18, which is scheduled to begin around 10 April. It will bring three Russian Cosmonauts to the station, with Soyuz MS-17 a week later with a Russian promotion to return to Sergey Ryzhikov and Earth. Sergey Kud-Severchkov, and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, on board.

“Around mid-March, we will begin our preparations to do some driving operations,” said Kenny Todd, deputy manager of the ISS program at NASA. On January 22, information was given about the upcoming series of astronauts. at the station.

In the briefing he did not provide any schedule for those missions. “We are still working with our Russian partners as well as the commercial crew program to program the Soyuz 64S and Crew-2 flights,” he said in a Jan. 27 statement to SpaceNews, the NASA designation for Soyuz M.S. Using. -18 “Both flights are currently targeting Spring 2021, but specific launch dates have not yet been finalized.”

Two of the Crew-1 astronauts, Hopkins and Glover, performed for the first time in a series of spacewalks Jan. 27, supporting the Bartolomeo external payload platform while working on the exterior of the Columbus module and installing a new antenna there. is. On February 1, the second spacewalk will complete the installation of a new battery for the station’s power system.

Toad said in the briefing that another pair of spacewalks are planned in late February or early March. These will take place after the arrival of the Cygnus cargo spacecraft currently launched on February 20.

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