SpaceX to launch Crew-1 Astronauts to the Space Station this weekend

In May 2020, SpaceX carried out its first Crewed Demonstration Flight. The aerospace industry has demonstrated that its Crew Dragon spacecraft is capable of carrying astronauts safely to the International Space Station (ISS) with the Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX is now able to make its second crew flight, known as Crew-1, the first operational mission under the Commercial Crew Program of NASA.

It was previously scheduled to launch the Crew-1 mission on Saturday, November 14th. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine reported today that the launch is scheduled for Sunday due to a tropical storm that triggers ocean disturbance along the coast of Florida. NASA and SpaceX are scheduling the launch of the Crew-1 mission with astronauts to the Space Station at 7:27pm EST on Sunday, November 15th due to onshore winds and recovery operations. It is expected to reuse the first stage booster to carry astronauts on Crew-2. #LaunchAmerica, Bridenstine wrote via Twitter. In the aerospace industry, SpaceX is the only organization capable of landing orbital-class space rocket boosters. The recovery of rockets helps SpaceX to minimize spaceflight costs through the reuse of boosters.

Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, and Michael Hopkins, who are flying for NASA, and Soichi Noguchi, who works for the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), are the four astronauts to be launched from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket this weekend. All except Glover, is a veteran astronaut. It’s going to be his first space mission. Astronaut Glover will make history as the first Commander Pilot of the African American Navy to launch aboard Crew Dragon and live for an extended time at the space station. “… I try to stay away from the bittersweet discussion of being the first Black astronaut assigned to a long-duration mission on the space station,” he told reporters, “I want to go do it first, I want to go do my job, and so I think the best thing that I can do, better than anything I could say, is to go do my job and do it well, and then come back and tell people about it. And I think this job, by its very nature, is inspirational and hopefully gives people something to unify around and celebrate together. […]”

Crew-1 will be part of Expedition 64, six months, perform science research and spacewalks to upgrade the space station. —”When we have additional astronauts, a full complement of crew on the International Space Station, the amount of research is going to be transformational,” Bridenstine said.

The first of several crewed operational flights launched from American soil will mark the Crew-1 mission. NASA booked voyages onboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft for the past decade; SpaceX officially returned capabilities for human spaceflight to the United States. “We are returning the United States’ capability for full launch services and we’re very honored to be a part of that,” Benji Reed, SpaceX’s Senior Director of human spaceflight, said during a press conference on Tuesday. He mentioned that SpaceX will fly 7 crew and cargo missions over the next 15-month period. “That means that starting with Crew-1, there will be a continuous presence of SpaceX Dragons in orbit,” Reed told reporters. We will see two Dragon spacecrafts docked at the space station next year.

In the video below, NASA will livestream the Crew-1 mission (schedule is Eastern Time). On Sunday morning, the agency will broadcast operations and track the astronauts on board SpaceX’s Crew Dragon for approximately eight hours before they dock with the Harmony module of the space station. It is supposed to dock itself to the ISS. Dragon functions autonomously. The astronauts gave the spacecraft a special name, “Resilience.” NASA Crew-1 Commander Astronaut Hopkins shared the name of the spacecraft chosen to reflect all the problems posed to the world by 2020 in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. “If you look up the definition of the word ‘resilience,’ it means functioning well in times of stress or overcoming adverse events. I think all of us can agree that 2020 has certainly been a challenging year, [with] a global pandemic, economic hardships, social unrest [and] isolation,” he said. In spite of all that, SpaceX and NASA have kept the production line open and completed this incredible spacecraft that is getting ready to go to the International Space Station on its maiden flight. “So the name ‘Resilience’ is really in honor of the SpaceX and NASA teams, and, quite frankly, it is in honor of our families, our colleagues, our fellow citizens, our international partners and our leaders, who have shown that same quality, those same characteristics all through these difficult times,” Hopkins added.


Sunday, Nov. 15

3:15 p.m. EST – Coverage of the Launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 Mission on the “Resilience” Crew Dragon to the International Space Station (Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, Soichi Noguchi; launch scheduled at 7:27 p.m. EST; coverage will be continuous through docking and hatch opening on Sunday, Nov. 15) – Kennedy Space Center/ Hawthorne, Calif./Johnson Space Center

9:30 p.m. EST – NASA/ SpaceX Crew-1 Postlaunch News Conference (time is subject to change)- Kennedy Space Center

November 16, Monday
11 p.m. EST – Docking of the SpaceX “Resilience” Crew Dragon and the Crew-1 Crew to the International Space Station – Hawthorne, Calif./Johnson Space Center

November 17, Tuesday
1:40 a.m. EST – Welcoming Ceremony for the SpaceX “Resilience” Crew Dragon Crew-1 Crew at the International Space Station (Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, Soichi Noguchi) – Hawthorne, Calif./Johnson Space Center 
2 a.m. EST (approximately) – SpaceX Crew-1 Mission post-docking news conference with senior NASA and JAXA official

Be sure to tune in and watch it live!

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