NASA targets October 31 for next manned SpaceX mission
Washington: NASA and SpaceX now are targeting October 31 for the launch of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station.
The US space agency had earlier targeted October 23 for the launch of the mission which comes after the SpaceX Demo-2 test flight which flew astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the space station.
The new target date which falls on Halloween will deconflict the Crew-1 launch and arrival from upcoming Soyuz launch and landing operations, NASA said on Monday.
While a Soyuz capsule launch is scheduled for October 14, a Soyuz departure from space station is set to take place on October 21.
NASA said the additional time is needed to ensure closure of all open work, both on the ground and aboard the station, ahead of the Crew-1 arrival.
The Crew-1 mission will take astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to the station on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
The launch will be the first time an international crew will fly aboard a NASA-certified, commercially-owned and operated American rocket and spacecraft from American soil.
Following the launch, the Crew-1 astronauts are scheduled to arrive at the space station for a six-month science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory.
NASA said it is in the final stages of the data reviews needed ahead of certification following the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight.