As a part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission, four astronauts are on a journey for the International Space Station (ISS). They were launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Friday morning. Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the astronauts on the mission. This is the third time SpaceX has launched astronauts for NASA.
The mission is unique as SpaceX is using ‘Endeavour’ the same Crew Dragon spacecraft (capsule) that took two astronauts to ISS and returned on the first crewed SpaceX flight in May 2020. The Falcon 9 rocket reused a booster from its Crew I mission that took four astronauts to the ISS last November.
The four-member astronauts in the current mission are NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and Thomas Pesquet from European Space Agency (ESA). They will stay at ISS for a six-month science mission.
Shane Kimbrough, 53, a veteran of two spaceflights is the commander of this mission. He became an astronaut in 2004. Kimbrough’s first space flight was as a Mission Specialist on STS-126, which launched on November 14, 2008. His second flight was onboard Russian Soyuz MS-02 to the International Space Station on October 19, 2016, as part of a four-month mission and returned to earth in April 2017.
Megan McArthur, 49, is an American oceanographer, engineer who became an astronaut in 2000. She has served as a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) for both the space shuttle and space station. She was part of NASA’s final Hubble Space Telescope repair mission, STS-125 in 2010. Currently, she is flying in the same seat as her husband Bob Behnken did during SpaceX’s debut crew launch last year.
Thomas Pesquet, 43, is a French aerospace engineer, pilot who joined the French Space Agency as an engineer in 2002. He became an astronaut in 2009. Pesquet was the flight engineer from November 2016 to June 2017 for Expedition 50 and Expedition 51.
Akihiko Hoshide, 52, joined the Japanese Space Agency as an engineer in 1992. He helped develop Japan’s Kibo lab for the space station. He installed Kibo, or Hope, in 2008, launching aboard shuttle Discovery. Hoshide returned to ISS in 2012 for six months.
Endeavour is scheduled to dock to ISS at around 5:10 a.m. ET (09:10 GMT) on Saturday after a 23-hour ride.