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Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett.

Crew Dragon Endeavour begins journey to the ISS

Earlier today, April 23, 2021 at 05:49 EDT / 09:49 UTC, the Crew Dragon capsule Endeavour successfully blasted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch vehicle carried the two NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, as well as ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide into low Earth orbit and toward the International Space Station (ISS). The four astronauts are currently on their way to the orbital laboratory and are scheduled to arrive at the station tomorrow morning, April 24 at around 09:10 UTC. If all goes according to plan, Endeavour will dock to the forward-fascing docking port at the station’s Harmony module after a 23.5-hour long voyage around planet Earth.

Launch of the Crew-2 mission. Image Credit:  NASA/Kim Shiflett.
Launch of the Crew-2 mission. Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett.

The mission, designated Crew-2, is the second flight of both the first stage of the Falcon 9 and the capsule Endeavour. Endeavour previously flew on the Demo-2 mission, the first crewed flight of a Crew Dragon, in May 2020, while the stage already supported the launch of Crew Dragon Resilience back in November 2020. After separating from the second stage and a successful entry burn and landing burn, the core stage landed back on Earth on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean. It will be used a third time in the near future. The Crew-2 mission is SpaceX’ first crewed mission to utilize flight-proven hardware.

Once the four astronauts arrive at the ISS, they will join the members of the ISS Expedition 65 long duration expedition, which consits of the four Crew-1 and four Crew-2 astronauts and the one astronaut and the two cosmonauts of the Russian Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft. Crew-1 Crew Dragon Resilience is scheduled to depart the International Space Station about five days after the arrival of Endeavour.

The launch of the rocket was originally scheduled to occur on April 22 but had to be delayed to April 23 due to unfavorable weather conditions along the flight path.

The mission is the fourth spaceflight of a Crew Dragon and the third crewed and second operational launch performed by SpaceX under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a partnership between NASA and commercial companies to develop vehicles to launch humans into space from American soil.


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