On Friday, NASA announced that there is a planned mission to launch a SpaceX crew on or after October 23rd of this year. At the time of launch, this will be the first full-length astronaut mission for SpaceX.
Three U.S. astronauts under the name of Crew-1 will be a part of the SpaceX mission: Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and Victor Glover. The mission plans to have the astronauts spend six months on research and mission-related tasks at the International Space Station. The name of the capsule that they’ll be launching on is the SpaceX Crew Dragon. There is already a rocket by the name of SpaceX Falcon 9 waiting in Florida for the launch this fall.
This new launch date is the latest following the delay of the original September launch date. According to NASA, a delay was needed due to “spacecraft traffic.” The traffic that NASA is referring to is that of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that will be headed to the International Space station in October already. Essentially, by changing the date to later in October for Crew-1, there can be a “crew handover” conducted when the next Crew-2 mission is launched in the spring of 2021 by SpaceX.
SpaceX’s first mission with two astronauts on board was conducted earlier in August of this year. During this mission, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley completed a test flight on the Crew Dragon Endeavor spacecraft.
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