NASA SpaceX Crew-2 set for launch on April 22

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Apr 16, 2021, 11:50 AM(IST)

SpaceX launch Photograph:( Reuters )

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The Crew-2 with four astronauts on board will lift off at 6:11 a.m. EDT on April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency`s Kennedy Space Center in Florida

US space agency NASA is set to launch SpaceX Crew Dragon second flight to the International Space Station on April 22.

The Crew-2 with four astronauts on board will lift off at 6:11 a.m. EDT on April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Crew-2 flight will carry NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, who will serve as the mission's spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihikoa Hoshidea and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomasa-Pesquet, who will serve as mission specialists to the space station, the space agency said in a statement.

The mission is the second of the six certified, crew missions NASA, and SpaceX will fly as a part of the agency's Commercial Crew Programme. Crew-1 successfully docked into the ISS in November, last year.

The Crew-2 astronauts will remain aboard the space station for approximately six months as expedition crew members, along with three crewmates who will launch via a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

The increase of the full space station crew complement to seven members, over the previous six,  will allow NASA to effectively double the amount of science that can be conducted in space, NASA said.

Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s human exploration office, said it was “moving” to be on the verge of flying three SpaceX crew flights in 11 months.

“Looking back, it’s really, really amazing what both the SpaceX and NASA teams have accomplished,” she said.

SpaceX said it must resolve one issue before conducting a test firing at the launch pad this weekend. It appears the company has been loading more liquid oxygen into its first-stage boosters than anticipated, and engineers want to make “extra certain” that poses no safety risks, said Bill Gerstenmaier, a new SpaceX vice president who used to work for NASA.

For nearly a decade, the only route to the space station for astronauts was on Russian rockets. NASA turned to private companies for taxi service after the space shuttles retired in 2011. SpaceX has been shipping cargo to the space station since 2012, using the same kind of rocket and similar capsules, and recycling those parts as well.

(With input from agencies)

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