6th October (WNN) — Elon Musk’s company said Wednesday that SpaceX will launch the company’s third Crew Dragon capsule to carry astronauts for the Crew 3 mission to the International Space Station on October 30.
“Crew 3 will fly on a new Dragon spacecraft and it’s really exciting to introduce another Crew Dragon to our fleet,” Sarah Walker, SpaceX director of Dragon mission management, said in a news conference broadcast from Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“We have another [Crew Dragon] in the production line … which should be ready in the spring to support more manned spaceflight missions,” Walker said.
The mission will carry Commander Raja Chari, 44, and Pilot Thomas Mashburn, 61, both NASA astronauts, and Mission Specialist Matthias Maurer, 51, of the European Space Agency, and Kayla Barron, 34, of NASA. This will be the first spaceflight for Chari, Maurer and Barron.
The flight will be the fifth crewed mission for SpaceX, including a demonstration mission that carried two astronauts to the space station in 2020. The Prerna-4 mission, which flew in orbit for three days with four civilians, returned to Earth on 20 September.
SpaceX hasn’t made many changes to the new Crew Dragon capsule, Walker said, but it did fix a loose connection in the waste disposal system
“And then we developed a small design improvement … to make the system even more robust to fly these vehicles multiple times,” Walker said without specifying.
NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager Steve Stich said NASA learned more about Crew Dragon’s systems, especially life support, from the Inspire-4 mission.
“In terms of life support … we learned the carbon dioxide scrubbing system [did] Really cool work,” Stitch said. “I think we’ve learned that we have a little bit more capacity and strength in the system than we expected.”
The mission is critical to maintaining the level of science and activity aboard the space station, as NASA and Congress prepare to extend its official lifespan from 2028 to 2030, said Kathy Leiders, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations.
“These missions allow us to do more science to reduce our exploration risks and push the limits of technology, while continuing to establish our key international partner relationships,” Lieders said.
NASA has scheduled another press conference with the astronauts on Thursday afternoon.
Inspire 4 after landing. Photo courtesy of SpaceX |
Jared Isaacman poses with Crew Dragon Resilience after landing. Photo courtesy of SpaceX |
Christopher Sambrowski waves after landing. Photo courtesy of SpaceX |
Dr. Sean Proctor gives a fist pump after landing. Photo courtesy of SpaceX |
Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission to space, provided in-flight updates during its three-day mission on Friday. Photo courtesy of SpaceX |
Inspiration4 Crew provides in-flight updates. Photo by SpaceX/WNN |
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a Crew Dragon spacecraft on the Inspiration 4 mission at 8:02 p.m. Wednesday from Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Photo by Joe Marino / WNN |
Inspiration 4 is the first mission in history to host four civilians for a three-day journey to orbit the Earth. It is led by Jared Isaacman to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Photo by Joe Marino/WNN |
Isaacman selected three other civilians for the crew: childhood cancer survivor and physician assistant Haley Arsinaux, 29, who is the mission medical officer; teacher, artist and pilot Dr. Sean Proctor, 51; and engineer Chris Sambrowski, 42. Photo by Joe Marino/WNN |
Arceneaux (L) and Proctor prepare to board the Dragon spacecraft. Photo courtesy of SpaceX |
From left to right, Sambrowski, Proctor, Isaacman and Arkenaux wave as they approach the board. Photo courtesy of SpaceX |
The crew wore white SpaceX suits and arrived in Tesla, for SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Photo courtesy of SpaceX |
Arceneaux, a cancer survivor and now a physician’s assistant at St. Jude in Memphis, Tenn. Photo by Joe Marino/WNN |
Inspiration 4’s commander, Isaacman, exits Hangar X as he prepares to ride for the launch. Photo by Joe Marino/WNN |
A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft sits on top of a Falcon 9 rocket as it prepares to launch the Inspire 4 mission. Photo by Joe Marino/WNN |
The Inspiration 4 crew tries on their flight suits before spaceflight. Photo courtesy of Inspire 4