NASA & SpaceX delays launch attempt of Crew 2 to Friday at 5:49 AM EDT or 9:49 UTC April 23rd 2021 from launch complex 39A at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, due to unfavorable weather conditions along the flight path for Thursday. Docking with the ISS is now planned for 5:10 AM EDT Saturday April 24th with hatch opening at 7:15 AM EDT.
Astronauts on Crew 2 are: Shane Kimbrough NASA Mission Spaceflight Commander / Megan McArthur NASA Mission Pilot / Akihiko Hoshide JAXA (Japan) / Thomas Pesquet ESA (Europe)
Crew 2 mission first: The first Commercial Crew with two astronauts from two international agencies / The first Commercial Crew mission with a flight proved capsule & first stage booster / Shane Kimbrough first to fly three space vehicles Soyuz, Shuttle, Dragon.
Attending the Administrator’s Briefing this Wednesday morning at 8:30 AM EDT was Steve Jurczyk Acting NASA Administrator, Bob Cabana Director of NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center, Hiroshi Sasaki Vice President & Director General of JAXA Human Space Flight Technology Directorate, Frank de Winne Manager ISS Program European Space Agency along with NASA astronauts Tracy Caldwell Dyson & Jasmin Moghbeli.
Steve Jurczyk said “I couldn’t be more proud of the Commercial Crew program and the SpaceX team, and the NASA team with what they have been able to do to enable reliable, safe effective transportation to and from the station. This is the third launch in less than a year!”
Earlier on Tuesday Steve Stich Manager of Commercial Crew said ” The Crew Dragon capsule that we’re going to fly is a reused capsule that Bob & Doug flew on Demo 2, and then, the first stage was used by Crew 1. So it’s kind of exciting to see all of those 3 missions in that one vehicle at the pad.”
Frank de Winne from ESA stated that for the first time for over one and a half years there will be three ESA astronauts on the ISS with the flights of Crew 2, Crew 3 and Crew 4!
Hiroshi Sasaki stated that he talked with their JAXA astronaut and Akihiko Hoshide is in good spirits and ready to fly.
During an in person interview with Carla Koch Deputy NASA Certification Manager for SpaceX at the NASA media center she stated that over 21,000 pieces had to be documented & certified safe for flight for the Crew 2 capsule and first stage boosters by a team of close to 300 people since the Demo 2 and Crew 1 missions were completed.
Carla has worked with NASA for over 13 years and the last two years in this current role and she is excited for herself and the team to see this mission liftoff safely. Carla did the presentation to both JAXA and ESA partners regarding the certification process and documentation for Crew 2 which both international partners were extremely interested in the information.
Deputy Chief Scientist for the ISS Kirt Costello discussed in another in person interview how the effects of micro gravity on the ISS investigations helps with buoyancy, no sedimentation, surface tensions of fluids and the biology impacts to human cells that occurs with zero G’s compared with the 1 G on Earth with the same experiments.
273 science investigations will be worked on by Crew 2 astronauts during their six month stay at the ISS. Another exciting experiment will be how lack of gravity effects the techniques in brazing materials together compared to on Earth. Celestial Immunity, water technology and tissue chips for fighting Leukemia are also on the research docket.
The broad categories of science investigations on the International Space Station are: Biology, Tech Demonstrations, Human, Space & Earth, Material Science and STEM education. Kirk mentioned that Crew 1 will be returning 16 completed investigations back to earth and their scientist in just four hours after splash down.
Tens of thousands of people are involved in all of the different aspects of getting to launch, liftoff, completing the vitally important work on the ISS, safely returning the astronauts and experiments back to earth in this orchestrated dance. It truly is an incredible team of dedicated intelligent hard working and passionate group of women and men to help accomplish the missions goals for NASA SpaceX Crew 2.
Article & Photos by Scott Schilke for spacenews.lu and space-news.es