KEY POINTS

  • SpaceX will launch astronauts for NASA in October
  • The Crew-1 mission will transport four astronauts to the ISS
  • SpaceX will handle regular rotational missions to the ISS for NASA

NASA and SpaceX are planning for the latter’s first official human spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) in October. The upcoming event will serve as SpaceX’s first regular rotational mission for NASA to the ISS.

Following the success of Demo-2, which was the first crewed test flight of SpaceX to the ISS, the company has started planning for its official spaceflight to the massive orbiting station.

The upcoming event, dubbed as the Crew-1 mission, aims to transport four astronauts to the ISS. These individuals were identified as NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Like Demo-2, the Crew-1 mission will also make use of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule to transport the astronauts. It will be launched via the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA and SpaceX are looking to launch the mission around Oct. 23.

According to NASA, the mission was set for late October to make way for another expedition to the ISS, which involves transporting the next batch of astronauts to the ISS.

“Crew-1 will launch in late October to accommodate spacecraft traffic for the upcoming Soyuz crew rotation and best meet the needs of the International Space Station,” the agency stated. “Launch will follow the arrival of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos aboard their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft.”

The ISS’ current crew, which includes NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, will then depart the station through Soyuz MS-17 following the arrival of Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov.

The arrival of the Crew-1 mission on the ISS will mark the first of many regular SpaceX missions to the orbiting station. As noted by NASA, SpaceX and its Crew Dragon capsule will be tasked with delivering the next batch of astronauts to the ISS.

After the Crew-1 mission, which will transport members of the Expedition 64 crew to the station, SpaceX’s next launch for NASA will take place sometime in February next year. For this mission, the company will transport the four crew members of the ISS’ Expedition 65.

Crew-1 NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 crew members are seen seated in the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft during crew equipment interface training. From left to right are NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, mission specialist; Victor Glover, pilot; and Mike Hopkins, Crew Dragon commander; and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, mission specialist Photo: NASA/SpaceX