NASA is getting ready to launch its subsequent astronaut rotation, Crew-7, to the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) this week on Friday, Aug. 25. The 4 astronauts will launch from Launch Advanced 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Area Heart in Florida atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket within the Dragon spacecraft C210-3 Endurance, focusing on liftoff at 3:49 AM EDT (07:49 UTC). NASA held a flight readiness overview (FRR) on Monday, Aug. 21, and gave the official “go” for launch, after the spacecraft rolled out to the pad at LC-39A.
The Crew-7 mission will obtain a number of firsts, comparable to being the primary flight for the Falcon 9 B1081 booster, which after separation is scheduled to return to Touchdown Zone 1 (LZ-1). Additional, it’s the first SpaceX Crew Dragon mission piloted by a European, quite than a NASA astronaut. Lastly, it’ll even be the primary time that 4 completely different area companies are represented on a single Crew Dragon flight.
The 4 individuals chosen for the Crew-7 launch embody NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli who will function the spacecraft commander, European Area Company (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen who will pilot the spacecraft, Japan Aerospace Exploration Company (JAXA) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa who will function a mission specialist alongside Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov. The Crew will spend six months on the ISS, conducting a number of science experiments and sustaining the outpost as a part of Expedition 69 and 70 members. In early 2024 when the Crew-8 crew arrives on the ISS, Crew-7 will then return to Earth in Endurance and be recovered by Shannon or Megan.
Endurance, which has been beforehand flown on NASA’s Crew-3 and Crew-5 missions, is about to dock with the orbiting laboratory at 2:02 AM EDT (06:02 UTC), on Saturday, Aug. 26. This would be the inaugural launch for the SpaceX booster B1081, which accomplished a static fireplace take a look at in June forward of the launch.
Static Fireplace! pic.twitter.com/TqUCemGSLx
— Chris Bergin – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) June 26, 2023
That is the seventh crew rotation flight, and eighth human spaceflight mission on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to the ISS as a part of NASA’s Business Crew Program (CCP). NASA’s CCP is the company’s modern-day effort to develop and fly human transportation methods into area.
The primary astronauts chosen for the mission had been chosen in March 2022. Jasmin Moghbeli was chosen as a NASA astronaut in 2017, and the Crew-7 mission shall be her first flight into area. The New York-based astronaut graduated with a level in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise, and a grasp’s in aerospace engineering from the Naval Postgraduate Faculty in Monterey, California. She has flown 2,000 hours in additional than 25 plane.
The pilot of the spacecraft shall be ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen. It is a important job for Mogensen, as he’ll develop into the primary European pilot on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. This shall be his second journey to area after working because the flight engineer for the ESA Iriss mission in 2015, the place the Denmark-born Mogensen examined new expertise for area. He has logged 9 days, 20 hours, and 9 minutes in area, and have become the primary Danish particular person to go to area. He presently is serving because the European astronaut liaison officer to NASA’s Johnson Area Heart in Houston.
JAXA’s astronaut Satoshi Furukawa will function a mission specialist for Crew-7. That is additionally not Furukawa’s first time in area, after having spent 165 days on the ISS in 2011 as a flight engineer with Expeditions 28 and 29. Since 2014, Furukawa has been the pinnacle of JAXA’s Area Biomedical Analysis Group which is targeted on bolstering analysis in area medication.
Lastly, the second mission specialist for Crew-7 shall be cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, who shall be finishing his first-ever spaceflight. Borisov entered the Roscosmos Cosmonaut Corps as a take a look at cosmonaut candidate in 2018 and has two masters in Science in Operations Analysis and Techniques Evaluation and one other in Plane constructing.
What’s occurred to this point
Whereas Crew-7 is about to launch this week, the occasion will come after a number of delays. The unique launch date was scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 15, nonetheless on July 25, NASA introduced it will be delayed to Thursday, Aug. 17. NASA defined “the brand new date – a shift of two days – permits for launch pad reconfiguration following a SpaceX Falcon Heavy mission”, which referred to the EchoStar 24 launch in July.
On Aug. 1, NASA once more introduced the launch can be moved to Monday, Aug. 21, permitting for “further time for launch website processing” on the Kennedy Area Heart. Nevertheless, days later the area company introduced the ultimate launch date set for Friday, Aug. 25, after needing much more time for pad readiness after the Falcon Heavy launch. “The adjustment additionally takes benefit of consecutive launch alternatives and deconflicts the station’s cargo spacecraft visitors schedule”, NASA stated on Aug. 3.
Previous to launch, the astronauts had quite a bit to organize for. On Aug. 11, the crewmembers entered right into a quarantine as one of many “main milestones” earlier than heading to Florida to start the mission.
“The method of flight crew well being stabilization is a routine a part of ultimate preparations for all missions to the area station. Spending the ultimate two weeks earlier than liftoff in quarantine will assist guarantee Crew-7 members are wholesome, in addition to defend the astronauts already on the area station”, NASA defined. In the course of the quarantine, the astronauts had restricted contact with different individuals.
Following quarantine, on Sunday, Aug. 20, the Crew-7 members took a brief aircraft journey from Ellington Area in Houston, Texas to Florida to start ultimate preparations earlier than liftoff.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 22, 2023
Crew-6 set to go away ISS
The launch of the most recent crew will come 5 months after Crew-6 arrived on the ISS for its six-month keep. Crew-6 consisted of commander Stephen Bowen, pilot Warren “Woody” Hoburg, mission specialist Sultan AlNeyadi from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and mission specialist Andrey Fedyaev of Roscosmos. Considerably, the mission made historical past after launching the second UAE astronaut into area, who grew to become the primary Emirati to develop into a long-duration crewmember of the orbiting laboratory.
This mission marked the fourth flight of the Crew Dragon Endeavour. The car first supported the Demo-2 mission, which was the primary crewed Dragon mission to the ISS in 2020. It additionally supported Crew-2 in 2021 and Axiom-1 in 2022. Previous to this mission, the car spent 280 days in area.
Following Crew-7’s docking, Crew-6 is about to lastly depart the ISS no sooner than Friday, Sept. 1, splashing down off the coast of Florida.
The seventh launch beneath SpaceX’s contract with NASA comes as Boeing’s Starliner maiden Crewed Flight Take a look at (CFT) has skilled much more delays. Earlier this August, Boeing, and NASA introduced the spacecraft wouldn’t full its first crewed flight till at the very least March 2024.
When NASA chosen Boeing to be a part of its Business Crew Transportation Functionality (CCtCap) in 2014, the company ordered six flights for the corporate to finish to the ISS. Nevertheless, with the Station’s deliberate demise approaching in 2030, the six flights have been thrown into query.
But, Boeing insists the corporate remains to be on observe to finish them, whereas SpaceX, which was chosen on the identical time in 2014, can have accomplished seven flights already.
(Lead picture: Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon for Crew-7 Credit score: Sawyer Rosenstein)