SpaceX became the first American private company to successfully launch and return NASA Astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) this year, under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. In May, a Falcon 9 rocket launched NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft during a demonstration (Demo-2) mission. The mission was conducted to certify the capsule is safe to carry out crewed voyages. After two months at the orbiting laboratory, they returned aboard Dragon -that conducted a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean on August 2nd.
SpaceX’s first crewed mission officially returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States after nearly a decade of relying on Russia to launch astronauts to ISS. “…NASA certification of SpaceX’s crew transportation system allows the agency to regularly fly astronauts to the space station, ending sole reliance on Russia for space station access,” the agency stated.
SpaceX is now preparing to conduct its second crewed mission. It will be the first operational mission called Crew-1. Four astronauts will ride aboard Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket that will liftoff from historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 23rd. The four astronauts that will ride Crew Dragon during next month’s Crew-1 mission are three NASA astronauts and one Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut. With NASA are: Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, joint-commander Pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialist Shannon Walker, along with JAXA mission specialist Soichi Noguchi.
Astronaut Noguchi shared his excitement via Twitter on Wednesday; he shared a photograph wearing his sleek SpaceX spacesuit, “Exercise every day for half a year in space! Stop drinking for half a year in space!! Don’t mess with your cell phone for half a year in space!!!” he wrote in Japanese.
Their mission is expected to be a longer duration stay at the space station. Crew-1 astronauts will make-up Expedition 64 and stay at the orbiting lab for around 6 months conducting scientific experiments in microgravity. Crew-1 has been preparing to conduct these vital experiments, as well as undergoing training on computer simulators to know every function and procedure aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. NASA has imposed a strict Health Stabilization Program to maintain Crew-1 astronauts and supporting staff safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. The poster pictured below details some highlights of how the agency keeps a healthy environment during their mission training.
about SpaceX’s next astronaut Crew-1 launch. – “NASA will highlight the first crew rotational flight of a U.S. commercial spacecraft with astronauts to the International Space Station with a trio of news conferences beginning 11 a.m. EDT. Tuesday, September 29,” the agency wrote in a press release. “The briefings, which will take place at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, will air live on NASA Television.” You can watch the event live in the video below.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 Presentation Schedule
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
11:00 a.m. – NASA’s Commercial Crew Program News Conference with the following participants:
- NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
- Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
- Phil McAlister, director, Commercial Spaceflight Development, NASA Headquarters
- Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
12:30 p.m. – Crew-1 Mission Overview News Conference with the following participants:
- Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
- Kenny Todd, deputy manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
- Anthony Vareha, NASA flight director, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
- Benji Reed, director, Crew Mission Management, SpaceX
· Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station, JAXA
2:00 p.m. – Crew News Conference with the following participants:
- Astronaut Michael Hopkins, spacecraft commander, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission
- Astronaut Victor Glover, pilot, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission
- Astronaut Shannon Walker, mission specialist, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission
- Astronaut Soichi Noguchi, mission specialist, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission
3:30 p.m. – Round Robin Crew Interviews
- Crew-1 astronauts will be available for a limited number of remote interviews following the news conference.
WATCH IT LIVE!