WASHINGTON — The second operational SpaceX business crew mission to the Worldwide Area Station will now launch in mid-April, carrying astronauts from Europe, Japan and the USA.
NASA stated Jan. 29 that it set a launch date of April 20 for the Crew-2 mission to the station. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur would be the commander and pilor, respectively, with Japan Aerospace Exploration Company astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Area Company Thomas Pesquet on board as mission specialists.
The 4 will substitute the Crew-1 astronauts who flew to the station in November on the primary operational Crew Dragon mission. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, will return in that spacecraft in late April or early Could, assuming Crew-2 launches on its present schedule.
NASA earlier introduced a no-earlier-than launch date for Crew-2 of March 30. Nevertheless, it delayed the mission to permit the uncrewed Orbital Flight Check 2 mission by Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner business crew car to launch no sooner than March 25 for an roughly one-week mission. Each Starliner and Crew Dragon dock to one in all two ports on the station, one in all which is occupied by the Crew-1 Crew Dragon spacecraft.
The delay to April 20 additionally accommodates a Soyuz spacecraft, Soyuz MS-18, scheduled to launch round April 10. It would carry three Russian cosmonauts to the station, with Soyuz MS-17 returning to Earth per week later with Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, on board.
“Across the mid-March timeframe we’ll actually begin to ramp up our preparations for performing some visiting car operations,” Kenny Todd, deputy supervisor of the ISS program at NASA, stated throughout a Jan. 22 briefing about an upcoming collection of spacewalks on the station.
On the briefing he didn’t give a schedule for these missions. “We’re nonetheless working with our Russian colleagues in addition to the Industrial Crew Program to agency up the schedules for the Soyuz 64S and Crew-2 flights,” he stated in a Jan. 27 assertion to SpaceNews, utilizing the NASA designation for Soyuz MS-18. “Each flights are presently concentrating on spring 2021, however particular launch dates have but to be finalized.”
Two of the Crew-1 astronauts, Hopkins and Glover, carried out the primary in a collection of spacewalks Jan. 27, engaged on the outside of the Columbus module to help the Bartolomeo exterior payload platform and to put in a brand new communications antenna there. A second spacewalk on Feb. 1 will full the set up of a brand new battery for the station’s energy system.
One other pair of spacewalks is tentatively deliberate for late February or early March, Todd stated on the briefing. These would happen after the arrival of a Cygnus cargo spacecraft presently scheduled for launch Feb. 20.