NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 crew members sit in the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft during training. Left to right: NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Oliver and Mike Hopkins and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
NASA and SpaceX plan to launch the company's first full mission with astronauts no earlier than October 23, the agency said on Friday.
Known as Crew-1, the mission will bring three US astronauts and one Japanese astronaut to the International Space Station in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. There they will spend six months on the space station, doing research and performing tasks.
The Crew Dragon capsule will carry Mike Hopkins from NASA, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi from JAXA. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which will lift the capsule, arrived in Florida in July to prepare for the Crew-1 launch.
NASA and SpaceX had previously planned to launch Crew-1 in late September. The one-month delay is due to "spacecraft traffic," NASA said when a Russian Soyuz spacecraft is scheduled to launch for the ISS in October. The agency also said postponing the Crew-1 launch will allow "crew-handover" aboard the space station. The six-month period for Crew-1 means the capsule will dock by the end of April and will overlap with the SpaceX Crew-2 mission, which is slated to launch in spring 2021.
Demo 2 reviews are in progress
SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavor spaceship is splashing in the Gulf of Mexico on August 2, 2020 with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board.
The announcement comes approximately two weeks after the successful completion of the SpaceX Demo 2 test flight, during which two NASA astronauts were promoted with crew on the company's first mission. The two organizations are currently reviewing data from the Demo 2 mission. Assuming no major problems are found, NASA will certify SpaceX's missile and capsule system to regularly fly astronauts to the ISS.
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