The countdown has started for Crew-2, SpaceX’s second commercial manned flight to the International Space Station (ISS). On the 22nd of April, four astronauts will board the first private Spacecraft to take humans to the Space Station: Elon Musk’s Crew Dragon capsule.
A second crew rotation for SpaceX
Ten days from today, a Falcon 9 rocket will lift off from the Kennedy Space Center, sending four crew members into Space: Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur (NASA), Thomas Pesquet (ESA) and Akihiko Hoshide (JAXA). Sitting on top of the 63 meter tall reusable booster, the Endeavour Spaceship will bring the four astronauts to the ISS, for what will only be the second crew rotation operated by SpaceX.
“The risk is higher and the approach is different”
Together with the Demo-2 test flight and the Crew-1 mission currently docked on the ISS, there have only been two launches and one crew return aboard the Dragon Spaceship. For this reason, Thomas Pesquet, the first European astronaut to wear SpaceX’s futuristic Space suit, has a different approach of his second six-month long stay on board the orbiting laboratory:
“We are still in the development stage of this system. In the infancy of a technical system, before having thousands of hours of success, the risk is higher and the approach is different.”
- Thomas Pesquet, ESA astronaut -
Crew-Dragon evolves for Space tourism
As reminded by the French astronaut, the Crew-2 mission will be essential to collect data and improve the safety of the Dragon capsule. After the Boeing Starliner failed to reach the ISS in 2019, SpaceX took a key role in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. To stay ahead of the competition, Elon Musk keeps improving the design of his reusable Spacecraft. In preparation of the upcoming launch of Inspiration4, SpaceX will upgrade Crew Dragon with a glass dome imitating the famous cupola of the Space Station.