SpaceX is position to launch its second operational commercial crew mission to the International Space Station for NASA, with a liftoff time of 5: 49 AM EDT (2: 49 AM PDT) on Friday morning. The flight will carry four astronauts, at the side of two from NASA, one from JAXA (the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and one from the ESA (European Space Agency), to the station, where they’ll initiate a regular tour of responsibility conducting science experiments and maintaining and upgrading the orbital platform.
This is the second commercial crew mission for SpaceX, which officially qualified its Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket for human flight last year. NASA then launched four astronauts the usage of SpaceX’s human-certified launch machine later that year in November, changing into the first private company to deliver folk to the ISS, and the first American car to total so for the reason that retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011. Since the conclude of that program, NASA has relied on shopping rides aboard Russian Soyuz rockets to maintain up its representation on the ISS.
There’s already a SpaceX Crew Dragon at the Space Station from that Crew-1 launch last year, and it was relocated to another port on the station earlier this month in preparation for the arrival of the one flying for Crew-2. The Crew-1 Dragon capsule is position to return to Earth with astronauts on board once they’re relieved by this flight’s crew, seemingly later this month on April 28.
One major notable change for this launch is the exercise of a flight-confirmed Falcon 9 rocket booster. SpaceX has previously faded contemporary boosters novel from the factory for its human launches, although it has a spotless track anecdote by way of booster re-exercise for its cargo flights. It’s also the first re-exercise of a dragon spacecraft, and each components of this launch machine actually previously supported human launches, with the first stage serving all by means of Crew-1, and the Dragon capsule offering the walk for Demo-2, which flew astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
The astronauts on today’s flight are Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur from NASA, as effectively as Akihiko Hoshide from JAXA and Thomas Pesquet from the ESA. As mentioned, liftoff time is position for 5: 49 AM EDT, but SpaceX will initiate streaming live hours in advance at approximately 1: 30 AM EDT on Friday (10: 30 PM PDT on Thursday).