NASA and SpaceX have announced that the couple’s fall mission to send four astronauts to International Room Station launched no earlier than 23 October.
The decision comes as the two organizations prepare for the previous astronaut launch, called Crew-2, which is currently scheduled for April 22, and which will lead crew members from three different space organizations to that orbital laboratory: NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.
The October launch, called Crew-3, will also carry four astronauts to the orbital laboratory for a six-month stay. NASA has already announced that the aircraft will carry US astronauts Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer; the fourth crew member has not yet been publicly identified.
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In conjunction with the launch window on October 23 for Crew-3, Crew-2 will return to Earth no earlier than October 31, giving the two cohorts about a week of overlap to safely transfer the space station to its next occupants.
The Crew-3 flight will be SpaceX’s third full-fledged manned mission for NASA; the company also launched two veteran astronauts on one two-month demonstration mission in May 2020.
SpaceX is one of two companies working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. Boeings CST-100 Starliner the vehicle will also start making such flights once it has completed test flights, perhaps this year.
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