NASA and SpaceX made history in November 2020 with the first operational crewed mission aboard the Falcon 9-powered Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). They are looking to make history again this week with the second crewed mission using the same style of reusable components! Crew-2 is slated to launch on Thursday, April 22,*** aboard the Crew Dragon C206 Endeavour, which previously flew during a test flight.
This historic flight will have NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur alongside Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. The crew will board the Dragon Endeavour shortly after 3:30 am ET (12:30 am PT) with an anticipated liftoff at 6:11 am ET (3:11 am PT). Yes, this will be an early morning launch!
Where to Watch
NASA will carry the live stream coverage on NASA TV, which will begin four hours before launch, at 2 am ET (11 pm PT, Wednesday). Additionally, SpaceX will stream on their Launches page. According to the official Mission Timeline, the crew will be awake and prepping a few hours in advance! They will have a long trip, expecting to dock autonomously with the ISS around 5:30 am ET (2:30 am PT) on Friday, April 23.
In the event of a weather delay, the next available launch window is just under 24 hours away, in the predawn hours of Friday, April 23.
- The Falcon-powered Dragon design was test flown with a human crew to the ISS during Crew Demo-2 in May 2020. The test was done using the Dragon Endeavour. This will be its second flight with a human crew.
- Crew-2 will make history for having two Dragon spacecraft docked to the ISS at the same time! The Dragon Endeavour will dock alongside the Dragon Resilience, which will return to Earth carrying Crew-1 later this month.
- The Falcon 9 first-stage rocket will return to the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” once it separates.
- Crew-2 is the first Dragon flight to partner with two international space agencies. Crew-1 partnered with one.
- Crew-2 will return to Earth in roughly six months. Crew-1 will return within the next few weeks. Both Dragon capsules will enjoy a water splashdown.
***UPDATE: According to NASA, the Crew-2 launch has been rescheduled for Friday, April 23, at 5:49 am ET (2:49 am PT) due to inclement weather. Thursday’s flight path is predicted to boast “unfavorable weather conditions.” However, the US Space Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 90 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for the newly scheduled liftoff.