SpaceX’s next crewed launch for NASA will launch four astronauts to the International Space Station on the Crew-3 mission on Oct. 31 Liftoff is set for 2:21 a.m. EDT (0621 GMT). Known as Crew-3, the mission will mark SpaceX’s fourth crewed spaceflight and will ferry NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron and European Space Agency Matthias Maurer on a six-month mission to the space station.
Space.com will bring you all the latest updates on the Crew-3 mission (and the ongoing Crew-2 flight, here.
Crew-2 in orbit now | Webcasts |SpaceX | Crew Dragon | Falcon 9
NASA talks launch plans for SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission
NASA and SpaceX mission managers are meeting today in a Flight Readiness Review meeting that will decide if SpaceX’s next crewed mission for NASA is ready for liftoff.
Called Crew-3, SpaceX’s next astronaut mission for NASA will launch three American astronauts and one European Space Agency astronaut to the International Space Station on a six-month mission. Liftoff is set for Oct. 31 (Halloween) at 2:21 a.m. EDT (0621 GMT). The crew includes mission commander Raja Chari and mission specialists Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, all from NASA, and European astronaut Matthias Maurer.
SpaceX and NASA will hold a media teleconference tonight to discuss today’s Flight Readiness Review meeting and you’ll be able to listen in live. That briefing will begin no earlier than 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) tonight. You can watch live at the top of this page or directly from NASA here.
11 crewmembers on space station
The joint crews of SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission and the International Space Station have joined up to form one big group of 11 people in orbit.
“We’re so excited to be here, we’re ready to get to work,” Crew-2 pilot Megan McArthur told acting NASA astronaut Steve Jurczyk after entering the station.
There won’t be 11 people together on the space station for long. The four astronauts of SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission, which launched in November 2020, will return to Earth on April 28, leaving seven crewmembers behind.
You’ll be able to find that mission coverage here with live landing updates and coverage.
The Crew-2 astronauts, meanwhile, will stay onboard for the next six months.
That will wrap up our live coverage for Crew-2’s launch and docking. Thanks for joining us.
Hatches open between Crew Dragon, Station
The hatches are officially open between SpaceX’s Crew-2 Dragon capsule and the International Space Station.
Crew-2 astronauts opened the final hatch between their two spacecraft at 7:05 a.m. EDT (1105 GMT) as the two vehicles sailed 267 miles over the South Pacific Ocean.
The Crew Dragon crew will install some ducts for air circulation before entering the station. Inside the station, the station’s Expedition 64 crew is eagerly awaiting their new crewmates.
SpaceX Crew-2 docks at space station
SpaceX’s Crew-2 Dragon spacecraft successfully docked itself at the International Space Station Saturday (April 24), making history as the first used SpaceX capsule to ferry astronauts to the orbiting lab.
The Crew Dragon Endeavour docked at the space station at 5:08 a.m. EDT (0908 GMT) to deliver NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide of Japan and Thomas Pesquet of France to their new home for the next six months.
After a series of leak checks, the hatches between Endeavour and the space station will be opened at 7:15 a.m. EDT (1115 GMT). A welcome ceremony with all 11 of the astronauts on the station is expected at 7:45 a.m. EDT.
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Crew-2 astronauts wake for docking day
The four Crew-2 astronauts have awakened in orbit aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour for what will be their docking day at the International Space Station. Astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur (both of NASA), Akihiko Hoshide of Japan and Thomas Pesquet of France awoke at just after 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT) to start their Flight Day 2.
Endeavour is scheduled to dock itself at the space station on Saturday, April 24, at 5:10 a.m. EDT (0910 GMT) after a series of orbital maneuvers, a flyaround of the station and closing burns to dock at the forward port of the station’s U.S.-built Harmony module.
Elon Musk: “Feels like a dream”
Speaking during a news conference held shortly after launch, SpaceX founder Elon Musk talked about how important it was for the company to be flying crew. “I’m just really proud of the SpaceX team and honored to be partnered with NASA and helping with JAXA and ESA as well,” he said. Read more here
Amazing photos of Crew-2 launch
SpaceX’s Crew-2 astronaut launch for NASA painted the predawn sky with dazzling colors and the photos are just spectacular. This photo, taken by Space.com contributor Amy Thompson, shows SpaceX’s Falcon 9 1st stage and 2nd stage after separation.
Check out some other truly amazing photos of SpaceX’s Crew-2 launch here!
NASA, SpaceX to hold post-launch press conference
NASA and SpaceX are expected to hold a press conference at around 7:30 a.m. EDT (1130 GMT) to discuss today’s successful launch to the International Space Station. You can follow that press conference in the livestream above or by visiting here.
Crew Dragon Endeavour chasing space station
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour is chasing the International Space Station in what will be a 23-hour flight to the orbiting laboratory.
Endeavour has performed a “phasing burn” one of several maneuvers to keep the spacecraft on track to arrive at the International Space Station on Saturday, April 24. Docking is set for 5:10 a.m. EDT (0910 GMT).
The four Crew-2 astronauts will soon take off their sleek SpaceX-issue spacesuits and don more comfortable clothes for trip to the space station.
Crew Dragon safely in orbit
Following a spectacular early morning launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, Crew Dragon and its crew of four astronauts are safely in orbit.
Crew Dragon has separated from the Falcon’s second stage, nosecone deploy is coming up as the spacecraft is beginning its approach to the International Space Station.
Touchdown! Falcon 9 1st stage nails landing at sea
The first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket for today’s Crew-2 launch has successfully landed on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean following today’s astronaut launch for NASA.
This marks the second landing for this Falcon 9 rocket and the second crewed flight. It launched NASA’s Crew-1 astronaut mission to the International Space Station in November 2020.
LIFTOFF! Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon heading for orbit
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft has lifted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.
NASA Crew-2 commander Shane Kimbrough and pilot Megan McArthur are reporting that the launch vehicle and spacecraft are performing nominally as they commence the 12-minute climb to orbit.
Falcon 9 & Crew Dragon: T-minus 5 minutes and counting
The Crew Dragon spacecraft has transitioned to internal power for this morning’s launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 5:49 AM EDT (0949 GMT) from Launch Complex 39A at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
The Falcon 9 propellant tanks have been topped off with liquid oxygen (LOX) and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1). As the countdown nears T-0, flight computers will assess the Falcon 9 engine steering system and the vehicle’s propellant tanks will be pressurized to flight pressure.
At T-minus 3.3 seconds, the engine controller commands the Merlin engines ignition sequence to commerce, building up to maximum power for launch
In the Crew Dragon spacecraft, Crew-2 mission commander Shane Kimbrough and pilot Megan McArthur are conducting final launch preparations, assisted by mission specialists Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet.
No technical issues are being worked. Weather conditions are ‘Green.’ GO FOR LAUNCH!
Here’s a summary of the final countdown and ascent to orbit milestones:
-00:01:00 Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
-00:01:00 Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins
-00:00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
-00:00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
-00:00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff
+00:00:58 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
+00:02:33 1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
+00:02:36 1st and 2nd stages separate
+00:02:44 2nd stage engine starts
+00:07:15 1st stage entry burn
+00:08:47 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1)
+00:08:52 1st stage entry burn
+00:09:22 1st stage landing
+00:12:00 Crew Dragon separates from 2nd stage
+00:12:46 Dragon nosecone open sequence begins
Falcon 9 & Crew Dragon: T-minus 10 minutes and counting
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet onboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft, has been cleared for launch at 5:49 AM EDT (0949 GMT).
The mission management team has been polled and all have reported ‘Go for launch.’ The four astronauts are strapped into their seats, running through pre-launch checklists and are closely monitoring spacecraft systems in preparation for their ascent to orbit.
No technical or vehicle issues are being worked at this time, with very little chatter on the internal communication loops. Weather conditions and the Eastern Range are ‘Green’ for launch.
Falcon 9 ‘GO’ for propellant load
Falcon 9 has been cleared to commence propellant loading. The SpaceX launch director has just given the OK to start fueling the first stage of the 215 foot-tall (65 meter) two-stage Falcon 9 launch vehicle, which is powered by liquid oxygen (LOX) and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1).
The crew access arm is being retracted and Crew Dragon’s emergency launch escape system will be armed, preparing the spacecraft to separate from the launch vehicle in the unlikely event of anomaly on the pad or during ascent. Once the system is armed, propellant loading will soon follow.
Crew Dragon features an advanced abort system with eight SuperDraco engines and a series of parachutes that can be activated instantaneously from the moment they are armed on the launch pad all the way through orbital insertion.
The four astronauts have just closed and locked their visors in preparation for launch.
The SpaceX launch team is not working any technical issues at this time with Falcon 9 or Crew Dragon. Weather is currently ‘Green’ for launch.
Launch is scheduled for 5:49 AM EDT (0949 GMT).
Closeout Crew Departs Launch Pad
Rock, paper, scissors!The crew is going through their steps ahead of schedule and are passing the extra time aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft with a couple of rounds of the game. pic.twitter.com/1MUSHQUnyiApril 23, 2021
SpaceX’s closeout crew has departed Launch Pad 39A ahead of today’s Crew-2 astronaut launch on a Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon Endeavour.
Today’s countdown has proceeded smoothly, with no weather or vehicle concerns.
NASA has captured some video of the Crew-2 astronauts playing Rock, Paper, Scissors inside Endeavour after hatch closure. Check it out above.
Update: That hand signal game by the Crew-2 astronauts was not, in fact, Rock Paper Scissors, but a game astronaut Thomas Pesquet played as a kid growing up in France, per NASA.
Countdown proceeding smoothly
The countdown is proceeding smoothly for this morning’s launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft. Liftoff is scheduled for 5:49 AM EDT (0949 GMT).
Communication checks between the launch team, flight controllers and the spacecraft have been completed.
The launch team is carefully reviewing vehicle data to decide if fueling operations can commence; shortly, the SpaceX launch director is expected to give the OK to start loading propellants into the 215 foot-tall (65 meter) two-stage Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Falcon 9 is powered by liquid oxygen (LOX) and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1).
The launch team is not working any technical issues at this time.
Crew Dragon hatch closed for launch
Crew Dragon’s Endeavour hatch has been closed and latched for flight, the four astronauts are strapped into their seats and preparations are progressing smoothly for this morning’s Falcon 9 launch attempt from Launch Complex 39A at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center – the second operational mission to the International Space Station in the Commercial Crew Program.
SpaceX’s black-clad close-out crew are about 16 minutes ahead of schedule for their launch prep work.
Crew-2 mission commander Shane Kimbrough and pilot Megan McArthur have completed air-to-ground communications checks to ensure that the four astronauts can talk to flight controllers and each other during the spacecraft’s ascent to orbit. Suit leak checks have also been completed.
Launch is scheduled for 5:49 AM EDT (0949 GMT). The launch team is not tracking any technical issues; launch weather forecast remains favorable, with a 90 percent probability of acceptable conditions at launch time.
All 4 Crew-2 astronauts aboard Crew Dragon Endeavour
All four Crew-2 astronauts have boarded their SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour for today’s predawn launch to the International Space Station. You can see them in the NASA TV image above. From left, they are: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.
The astronauts have closed their SpaceX spacesuit helmets for leak checks and swiveled their seats upward into launch position for today’s launch at 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT).
2 astronauts have boarded Crew Dragon
NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Meghan McArthur are now inside the Crew Dragon. ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide will board next.
Astronauts arrive at the launch pad
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The four Crew-2 astronauts have arrived at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they will lift off less than three hours from now. In about 15 minutes the astronauts will begin to board the Crew Dragon Endeavour.
Crew-2 astronauts are almost done suiting up
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NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet are just about finished getting into their SpaceX spacesuits ahead of their flight.
The crew is scheduled to leave the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at 2:29 a.m. EDT (0629 GMT) and board their Tesla Model X vehicles, in which they will be driven to Launch Complex 39A.
They are scheduled to arrive at the launch site at 2:54 a.m. EDT (0654 GMT).
NASA’s Crew-2 launch webcast is live now!
NASA’s live broadcast of the SpaceX Crew-2 launch to the International Space Station has begun! We are just over four hours away from liftoff, which is scheduled for 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT).
You can watch the launch live here and find more information about NASA’s Crew-2 webcasts here.
SpaceX launch may be visible from the US East Coast
SpaceX’s Crew-2 astronaut launch will liftoff from Florida’s Space Coast before sunrise on Friday, April 23, and there’s a chance for observers along the U.S. East Coast to see the rocket’s ascent into orbit.
According to Space.com columnist Joe Rao, skywatchers with clear skies have a chance to see the second stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket as it streaks toward space. Exactly when the Falcon 9 will be visible, and for how long, depends on your location along the East Coast.
You can see tips on when and how to see the SpaceX launch in our full story here.
SpaceX ready for Crew-2 launch
SpaceX is less than a day away from launching the Crew-2 astronauts to the International Space Station.
As with every SpaceX launch for NASA, you’ll be able to watch the mission live online. NASA’s webcast will begin at 1:30 a.m. EDT (0630 GMT) and then run continuously through docking at the space station on Saturday.
Here’s our full preview for Friday’s launch from contributor Amy Thompson in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Crew-2 Launch Delayed
NASA and SpaceX have delayed the launch of the Crew-2 astronaut mission to the International Space Station to no earlier than Friday, April 23 due to bad weather downrange. Liftoff is now set for 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT).
“Although conditions around the launch site were expected to be favorable for liftoff, mission teams also must consider conditions along the flight path and recovery area in the unlikely event of a launch escape,” NASA officials said in a statement today.
You can read our full story on the launch delay here.
Crew-2 astronauts arrive at launch site
The four astronauts of NASA’s Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station have arrived at their Kennedy Space Center launch site for an April 22 launch on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour and Falcon 9 rocket.
The crew, NASA astronauts Shanek Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, arrived at KSC’s Launch and Landing Facility (a former Shuttle Landing Facility). They are scheduled to launch on April 22 at 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT).
Today (April 17), the Crew-2 astronauts will hold a virtual press conference at 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 GMT). You can watch it live on this page and here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV.
One week to launch for SpaceX’s Crew-2
SpaceX is one week away from launching four astronauts into space for NASA to begin a months-long trek to the International Space Station.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the astronauts on the Crew-2 mission for NASA on Thursday, April 22. Liftoff is set for 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT). The space agency will hold a Flight Readiness Review briefing today, April 15, at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) to discuss the mission. You can watch that live here and follow along at the top of this page.
The Crew-2 mission will launch from NASA’s historic Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon Endeavour, which launched SpaceX’s first crewed flight for NASA (called Demo-2) in May 2020, will launch the mission.
Crew-2 will launch a four-person crew: NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet. The four space travelers will join seven others aboard the station when they arrive at the station on April 23. Four of those crewmates launched on SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission and will return to Earth on April 28. The other three arrived earlier this month on a Russian Soyuz to begin their own extended stay.
— Tariq Malik