SpaceX Demo-2 Launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Demo-2 mission is the first launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The test flight serves as an end-to-end demonstration of SpaceX’s crew transportation system. Behnken and Hurley launched at 3:22 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 30, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to low-Earth orbit for the first time since the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)
Countdown To Launch: NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 Mission
After a successful NASA and SpaceX Demo-2 Mission, the first operational mission of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon with four astronauts is targeted for November 15, 2020. Get ready to launch! Watch it live on SPACE LAUNCH LIVE: CREW-1 LIFT OFF starting at 5P ET on Discovery and Science Channcel or stream it live on Discovery GO.
Around the globe on May 30, we watched on Discovery and Science Channel, NASA and SpaceX work together to launch NASA Astronauts Robert (Bob) Behnken and Douglas (Doug) Hurley to the International Space Station on a test flight mission of Crew Dragon known as SpaceX Demo-2. The two astronauts joined Expedition 63 at the ISS for two months before a historic return to Earth via splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico on August 2. Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle program in 2011, Demo-2 made the return possible of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil. The safe return to Earth from space of astronauts Bob and Doug marked a successful first crewed flight of the Dragon Capsule and the first splashdown of an American crewed spacecraft in 45 years. This milestone has paved the way for SpaceX to launch astronauts again with its upcoming first operational flight. This is not a test.
NASA astronauts Robert Behnken, left, and Douglas Hurley are seen inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft onboard the SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020.
Who are the selected astronauts for the Crew-1 Mission?
The assigned NASA astronauts for this mission are Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialist Shannon Walker along with mission specialist Soichi Noguchi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). These four astronauts will launch in a brand-new Crew Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Hopkins, Glover, Walker, and Noguchi will be aboard the space station (ISS) for six months. The Crew Dragon from the Demo-2 mission will be used for the future SpaceX Crew-2 mission.
What will the astronauts be doing on the ISS for six months?
Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi will join NASA Astronaut Kathleen (Kate) Rubins, Cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov, and Cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov in space. Prior to the Crew-1 launch, Rubins, Ryzhikov, and Sverchkov will have arrived at the space station via a Soyuz spacecraft launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Russia. These seven astronauts are Expedition 64. In addition to time reserved for exercise, chores, meals, and sleeping, the astronauts will also conduct science experiments. There are plans to perform a few spacewalks, too.
Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 Mission launch date!
(Updated: November 13, 2020) Learn about the four astronauts of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 Mission that will launch to the ISS on November 15 at 7:27P ET as the first crewed operational flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft! Plus, watch it live on SPACE LAUNCH LIVE: CREW-1 LIFT OFF starting at 5P ET on Discovery and Science Channel or stream it live on Discovery GO.
In the meantime, learn more about the astronauts.