Watch LIVE as NASA and SpaceX launch astronauts from THREE different agencies to the International Space Station for the first time in nearly 20 years
- SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission is set to takeoff from Florida at 10:49am BST
- Four astronauts from three different agencies will soar to the ISS
- This mission is the first to reuse a capsule and Falcon 9 from previous launches
- The rocket took Crew-1 to the ISS and the capsule was used in ‘Launch America’
- This mission took off May 2020 with NASA’s Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley
- Behnken’s wife, Megan McArthur is part of Crew-2 and will sit in his seat
SpaceX will launch four astronauts from three different space agencies for the International Space Station this morning using a recycled capsule and rocket.
The astronauts from the US, Japan and France, are scheduled to blast off from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 10:49 BST.
It will carry NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s Akihiko Hoshide, and the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Thomas Pesquet, who is French.
The Falcon 9 rocket that flew Crew-1 will be used, along with the Crew Dragon Capsule Endeavour that housed Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in May 2020 – a launch that brought spaceflight back to US soil.
At 08:37 the International Space Station tweeted that the crew were already in the capsule and getting ready to launch.
‘Communication checks are now complete with the crew. Their seats have been rotated from the upright position and into the reclined launch position ahead of schedule,’ the station team wrote.
Crew-2 was scheduled to blast off Thursday, but unfavourable weather along the Atlantic coast forced officials to delay it until the early this morning.
The four astronauts, from three different global space agencies including the US, Japan and France, are scheduled to blast off at 10:49am BST
SpaceX founder Elon Musk arrived in Florida ahead of the launch to watch the second crewed flight to the station operated by his firm
The Crew Dragon Endeavour is mounted to the top of a Falcon 9 rocket ready to take the astronauts to the ISS
It can be a long wait between being seated in the crew capsule and lifting off for the ISS, so while they wait the crew having been playing rock, paper, scissors.
In a video shared by the ISS team they can be seen rpeparing for launch, playing games and passing the time.
‘The crew is going through their steps ahead of schedule and are passing the extra time aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft with a couple of rounds of the game.’
SpaceX founder Elon Musk has been spotted at the Florida launch complex to watch the second flight of his Crew Dragon capsule to the ISS.
Megan McArthur, wife of Bob Behnken who flew on the first SpaceX Crew Dragon mission will be seated in the same seat he occupied when she blasts off today.
Being assigned to the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour was ‘a neat surprise, and kind of a fun twist on the whole thing,’ said McArthur.
‘I’m going to launch in the same seat. So that is kind of a fun thing that we can share, you know, I can tease him and say, ‘Hey, Can you hand over the keys? I’m ready now to go.’
The last time three agencies launched for the ISS from US soil was in 2022 on the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
The US Space Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 90% chance of favourable weather conditions at the launch pad for liftoff of the Crew-2 mission based on Falcon 9 Crew Dragon launch weather criteria.
For the first time, Elon Musk’s company is launching astronauts with a previously flown capsule and rocket, just as it’s done for station supply runs
A security helicopter streaks by launch pad 39A near the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ahead of the Crew-2 mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 23, 2021
(From L) ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide (hidden), inside the capsule
(From L) ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, posing for photos during preparations ahead of the Crew-2 mission
This crew capsule launched with SpaceX’s first crew last May, in what was dubbed ‘Launch America.’
This was the first time in nine years that NASA astronauts launched in an American rocket to the ISS, as well as taking off from US soil.
Behnken and Hurley also blasted off during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic – so the mission brought some hope back to the US and maybe even the world.
JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide reacts as he arrives for the boarding of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon capsule
NASA astronaut Megan McArthur waves to family and friends after leaving the operations and checkout building before a launch attempt
NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet arrive for the boarding of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
Jim Bridenstine, who was the NASA Administrator at the time, said in a May press conference: ‘Maybe there´s an opportunity here for America to maybe pause and look up and see a bright, shining moment of hope at what the future looks like, that the United States of America can do extraordinary things even in difficult times.’
And the same capsule will again take astronauts to the ISS.
The Crew-2 mission will carry four astronauts in the second routine taxi ride by SpaceX to ISS since the United States resumed crewed space flight, and the first with a European.
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough waves as he leaves the operations and checkout building before a launch attempt Friday, April 23, 2021
The Crew-2 mission will carry four astronauts in the second routine taxi ride by SpaceX to ISS since the United States resumed crewed space flight, and the first with a European
SpaceX Crew 2 members, from left, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide gather at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on April 16
‘This is the third launch in less than a year: Demo-2, Crew-1, and now Crew-2,’ Jurczyk said during a pre-launch media briefing on Wednesday.
‘I could not be more proud of the NASA and SpaceX teams.’
NASA’s spacecraft commander Kimbrough and his crew will spend six months at the space station, replacing four astronauts who will return next Wednesday in their own SpaceX capsule, parachuting into the Gulf of Mexico near Tallahassee, Florida.
However, during those six months Pesquet plans to dine like a king with a smorgasbord of treats that are unlike any space food before.
The Crew Dragon Capsule set to shuttle the crew into orbit is the same used by Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley May 2020 – a launch that brought spaceflight back to US soil
However, during those six months Pesquet plans to dine like a king with a smorgasbord of treats that are unlike any space food before. The French astronaut is brining along lobster, beef bourguignon, cod with black rice, potato cakes with wild mushrooms and almond tarts with caramelized pears
He and his crewmates will feast on dishes prepared by three separate French culinary institutions, but the meals are only for special occasions. Pictured are chefs preparing the meals for orbit
The French astronaut is brining along lobster, beef bourguignon, cod with black rice, potato cakes with wild mushrooms and almond tarts with caramelized pears, The New York Times reports.
‘There’s a lot of expectations when you send a Frenchman into space,’ Pesquet said during a European Space Agency news conference last month. ‘I’m a terrible cook myself, but it’s OK if people are doing it for me.’
He and his crewmates will feast on dishes prepared by three separate French culinary institutions, but the meals are only for special occasions.
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