SpaceX and NASA have partnered up to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station on Thursday, April 22. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket are set to be launched from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida and then dock on the ISS port. This historic event circumstantially coincides with Earth Day as well. Here is more information about SpaceX Crew 2.
SpaceX & NASA clear to launch Crew 2 Astronauts on Earth Day
After a successful readiness review that took place on Thursday, April 15, the SpaceX Crew 2 mission is ready to sign off. This will be Crew Dragon’s second flight since last year when it had carried NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to and from the space station for the Demo-2 test flight. At a news conference on Thursday, NASA Head of Human Spaceflight Kathy Lueders dropped clues about the mission, informing that the flight readiness review was successful but they are worried it needs to be cleared up in the next few days “because it’s got to get resolved before the static fire [test].”
Bill Gerstenmaier, Vice President of build and flight reliability at SpaceX, also indulged in what the problem really was, mentioning that their team discovered a potential loading error and that it may be because they were actually loading slightly higher level of liquid oxygen than required in the Falcon 9 tanks. They are yet to figure out the cause of the discrepancy but have assured that they’ve reviewed the same with the NASA team and are together taking the extra step to determine the reliability of the flight.
SpaceX Crew 2 astronauts who will be spending their next six months in space are NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide. They have already begun to quarantine themselves to take utmost precautions while they are still on land. If the last-minute issue with liquid oxygen gets resolved, the flight will go as planned, taking off at 6:11 AM EDT (3:41 PM IST) on April 22 and will drop the SpaceX Crew 2 astronauts at the International Space Station within 23 hours at 5:30 AM EDT (3:00 PM IST) on April 23. A backup launch window has also been set for April 26 or April 27.
Image Source: SpaceX IG
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