NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts are in orbit following the second commercial crew rotation mission aboard the microgravity laboratory, their early morning launch bound for the International Space Station. At 5:49 a.m. EDT Friday 23 April 2021, the international crew of astronauts lifted at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida off from Launch Complex 39A. The Crew Dragon spacecraft was pushed by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with NASA astronauts Megan Mc Arthur, Shane Kimbrough, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide into orbit for a six-month science mission.
SpaceX will command Crew Dragon’s during the flight from its mission control center in Hawthorne, California. Throughout the flight, NASA teams will monitor space station operations from Mission Control Center at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
According to NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk, “It has been an incredible year for NASA and our Commercial Crew Program, with three crewed launches to the space station since last May.” He also shared that this mission is an important milestone for SpaceX, NASA, and NASA’s international partners at ESA and JAXA. It will be a thrilling moment to see the crews greet one another on station for the first crew handover under the Commercial Crew Program.
Endeavor is the Crew Dragon spacecraft name, which reached the International Space Station on 24 April 2021. According to Elon Musk, Chief Engineer at SpaceX, he is ready proud of the SpaceX team and grateful to be partnered with NASA and helping ESA and JAXA. The entire team is excited to be part of advancing human spaceflight and helping make humanity a multi-planet species and space-faring civilization and looking forward to going beyond Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars.
The Crew-2 mission is the 2nd of six crewed missions. Space X and NASA will be a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. This mission will be 1st commercial crew mission to fly two international partners. About five days Crew-1 and Crew-2 astronauts will spend together on the station where the 1st commercial crew handover will happen between astronauts. At the same time, 1st two commercial crew spacecraft will be docked at the station.