- SpaceX Crew Dragon to Ferry Four Astronauts to International Space Station on November 14.
Three NASA crew and a Japanese astronaut are set to launch on a SpaceX rocket on Saturday, embarking on the first six months of the program’s routine mission to the International Space Station, after nine years of reliance on Russia, the United States re-launched crew spacecraft in May.
NASA on Tuesday officially certified the Crew Dragon capsule, developed by Elon Musk ‘s SpaceX company for crew astronaut transport, to take two astronauts to the ISS in May, without a major incident back to Earth in August.
“I’m extremely proud to say we are returning regular human spaceflight launches to American soil on an American rocket and spacecraft,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said.
American astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi are scheduled to take off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday (Sunday 6:19 AM IST).
As of Tuesday evening, the weather forecast for Saturday was good. They arrive at the ISS eight hours later, at 09:20 GMT Sunday (2:50 IST Sunday).
This mission marks the culmination of SpaceX, which is compatible with NASA and the agency is waiting on Boeing’s Starliner capsule, the most trusted, transportation provider, by far, which has been held up in testing and is not expected to be ready before next year.
SpaceX has been operating space station re-supplying flights with the cargo version of the Dragon since 2012.
“For the next 15 months, we will fly seven crew and cargo Dragon missions for NASA,” SpaceX head of crewed flights Benji Reed said during a phone call Tuesday.
“That means that (from December) starting with Crew-1, there will be a continuous presence of SpaceX Dragons in orbit.”
The next crewed mission is expected to blast off at the end of March 2021, carrying one European, one Japanese, and two American crew members.
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