SpaceX to Launch Crew-2 to Space Station on Friday Morning

Crew-2 members Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX and NASA are targeting Friday, April 23 for Falcon 9’s launch of Dragon’s second six-month operational crew mission (Crew-2) to the International Space Station (ISS) from historic Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous launch window opens at 5:49 a.m. EDT, 9:49 UTC, with a backup opportunity available on Monday, April 26 at 4:38 a.m. EDT, 8:38 UTC.

The Crew-2 mission webcast will go live about 4 hours before liftoff. Tune in here to watch live.

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Crew-2 Launch Rescheduled for Friday

Crew-2 members Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 5:49 a.m. EDT Friday, April 23, for the launch of the agency’s Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station due to unfavorable weather conditions along the flight path on Thursday.

Although conditions around the launch site were expected to be favorable for liftoff, mission teams also must consider conditions along the flight path and recovery area in the unlikely event of a launch escape.

For a launch April 23, the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions at the launch pad for liftoff of the Crew-2 mission based on Falcon 9 Crew Dragon launch weather criteria. Conditions also are expected to improve along the flight path and recovery area for the mission. The primary weather concerns for the launch area will be liftoff winds.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Friday, April 23

1:30 a.m. – NASA Television launch coverage begins. NASA Television will have continuous coverage, including docking, hatch opening, and welcome ceremony.

7:30 a.m. (approximately) – Postlaunch news conference with the following participants:

  • Steve Jurczyk, acting NASA administrator
  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
  • SpaceX representative

Following a launch Friday, the Crew Dragon carrying NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet is scheduled to dock to the space station at about 5:10 a.m. Saturday, April 24.

With arrival of Crew-2 Saturday, NASA and SpaceX will continue to target the undocking and return to Earth of Crew-1 for Wednesday, April 28, after an approximate four-day shift change. Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, will undock Crew Dragon Resilience at 5 a.m. and splashdown off the coast of Florida 7.5 hours later at about 12:35 p.m., after 164 days in space. Their return date and time are dependent on having a healthy spacecraft and favorable weather in the selected splashdown zone.

Follow along with launch activities and get more information about the mission at: http://www.nasa.gov/crew-2.

Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Surprise! NASA Artemis Lunar Program Schedule Likely to Slip Again, 2024 Landing Unlikely

An astronaut descends the ladder to explore the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The latest in a series of updates from NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) says that despite making significant progress on the $86 billion Artemis program, the space agency’s schedule for returning astronauts to the moon in four years is likely to slip. [Full report]

“Nonetheless, the Agency faces significant challenges that we believe will make its current plan to launch Artemis I in 2021 and ultimately land astronauts on the Moon by the end of 2024 highly unlikely,” the update said.

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More Boos for NASA’s Human Lunar Landing System Award to SpaceX

Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: SpaceX)

Losing bidders Blue Origin National Team and Dynetics have major presence in Huntsville, Ala.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) released the following statement after NASA’s announcement about the Human Lander System or HLS.

“America’s space program is extremely important to me and returning Americans to the surface of the moon is a top priority. However, NASA’s award decision today raises a lot of questions. NASA and the U.S. Air Force recently agreed to very high SpaceX prices, several times the price on the company’s web site, for a launch of Gateway elements, and for national security payloads. The years of delay in the development of the Falcon Heavy, as well as recent tests of the Starship program as reported in the news, also raise technical and scheduling questions. Given the importance of our space program to our national security, I will be asking NASA a number of questions about today’s announcement and about their management of the program.” 

NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins, Crewmates Return Safely to Earth

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is helped out of the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft just minutes after she, along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Ryzhikov, landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov returned after 185 days in space having served as Expedition 63-64 crew members aboard the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, returned to Earth on Saturday, following six months living and working aboard the  International Space Station.

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As Artemis Moves Forward, NASA Picks SpaceX to Land Next Americans on Moon

Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: SpaceX)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA is getting ready to send astronauts to explore more of the Moon as part of the Artemis program, and the agency has selected SpaceX to continue development of the first commercial human lander that will safely carry the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface. At least one of those astronauts will make history as the first woman on the Moon. Another goal of the Artemis program includes landing the first person of color on the lunar surface.

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SpaceX Wins Single-Source Contract for Human Landing System

Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: SpaceX)

The Washington Post is reporting that SpaceX has won a single-source contract to develop the Human Landing System (HLS) based on its Starship design that will take humans back to the moon.

SpaceX beat out Dynetics and the Blue Origin-led National team that included Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper. SpaceX’s $2.9 billion bid was well below that of its competitors, according to the Post.

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NASA to Announce SpaceX Human Lunar Landing System Contract at 4 p.m. Friday

An astronaut descends the ladder to explore the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference at 4 p.m. EDT today, Friday, April 16, to announce the company or companies selected to move forward in developing a single-source contract to SpaceX to develop a modern human landing system (HLS) that will carry the next two American astronauts to the surface of the Moon and pave the way for sustainable lunar exploration under the Artemis program.

Tune in for a special announcement followed by a livestream of the teleconference audio at:

http://www.nasa.gov/live

Participating in the teleconference are:

  • Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk
  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate
  • Mark Kirasich, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems division
  • Lisa Watson-Morgan, HLS program manager
  • Tyler Cochran, HLS contracting officer

The HLS is a vital part of NASA’s deep space exploration plans, along with the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, ground systems, and Gateway. NASA is committed to using a commercial HLS to carry the first woman and first person of color to the surface of the Moon during Artemis missions, leading a path to sustainable exploration and preparing humanity for the next giant leap, human exploration of Mars.

For more information about the Artemis program, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/artemis

NASA Approves Crew-2 Launch for April 22

Crew-2 members Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station has concluded, and teams are proceeding toward a planned liftoff at 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

Crew-2 mission astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, are scheduled to arrive at Kennedy on Friday, April 16, for their flight to the International Space Station. This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners.

Orbital Sidekick Secures $16 Million Series A to Commercialize Hyperspectral Satellite Monitoring Solutions for Energy and Defense Sectors

SAN FRANCISCO, April 13, 2021 (Orbital Sidekick PR) — Orbital Sidekick (OSK), the first US commercial company to deploy hyperspectral sensors in space, has announced a $16 Million Series A funding round led by Temasek, an investment company headquartered in Singapore, to expand its innovative product offerings, new strategic partnerships, and introduce its advanced monitoring technology to new industries. The round also includes Energy Innovation Capital, existing investors Allied Minds and 11.2 Capital, and Syndicate 708.

“Paired with our recent $16M United States Air Force contract award in October 2020, the close of this Series A round allows us to focus on the deployment of the GHOSt constellation and the commercial release of our monitoring services platform SIGMA™,” Tushar Prabhakar, COO and Co-Founder of Orbital Sidekick, said. “With our growing list of commercial and government partners, OSK is primed to become a global leader in providing targeted solutions for customer pain points.”

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Astrobotic Selects SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket for Griffin-VIPER Moon Mission

Griffin Lander. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic announced today its selection of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket in a competitive commercial procurement to launch its Griffin lunar lander to the Moon in late 2023. Griffin will be carrying NASA’s water-hunting Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER). 

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COVID-19 Impact on Smallsat Market Mitigated by Funding Availability, Government Support

PARIS, WASHINGTON DC, MONTREAL, YOKOHAMA (Euroconsult PR) — The latest update of “Prospects for the Small Satellite Market” was released this week by Euroconsult, forecasting further growth in the global supply and demand of government, commercial and academic satellites weighing up to 500 kg.

The market intelligence report, now in its 7th edition, builds upon Euroconsult’s previous iteration that accurately predicted more than 1,000 satellites would be launched during 2020, a record year despite COVID-19. The new release further reinforces the sentiment that the 2020s will be the decade of small satellites, anticipating the launch of close to 14,000 smallsats before 2030.

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Exolaunch Introduces Eco Space Tug Program

Reliant orbital transfer vehicle (Credit: Exolaunch)

New Fully Sustainable Orbital Transfer Vehicles Will Launch Small Satellites to Custom Orbits and Remove Space Debris 

BERLIN, Germany, April 12, 2021 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, the leading rideshare services provider for the NewSpace industry and trendsetter in deployment solutions, today introduced its space tug program, featuring a new line of revolutionary orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs) that will launch satellites to custom orbits in an environmentally responsible way – the first of its kind in the OTV industry. The company’s space tug testing and flight qualification will begin in 2022 on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare missions.

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Jacobs Mango One Satellite on Orbit, Laying Pathway for Next Generation, Affordable Space Solutions

Mango One satellite (Credit: Jacobs)

Successful on-orbit performance marks another major milestone for Jacobs in advanced, affordable space radar payloads for military, civil and commercial customers

DALLAS (Jacobs PR) — Jacobs (NYSE:J) began a new era of advanced, affordable space radar payloads with its Mango One satellite achieving a successful on-orbit performance. On Jan. 24, 2021, Jacobs’ Mango One satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter One rideshare mission to a sun synchronous orbit.

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Coverage Set for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Briefings, Events, Broadcasts

Crew-2 members Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners. The flight follows certification by NASA for regular flights to the space station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

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