The first crews to launch from US soil to the International Space Station since the end of the shuttle era will be trailblazers in a new era of spaceflight.
“This mission will be the first in a series of regular, rotational flights to the station following NASA’s certification of the new crewed system following completion and validation of SpaceX’s test flight with astronauts, known as Demo-2,”NASA said in a statement.
The upcoming Demo-2 launch (not to be confused with the first operational mission) will involve just two astronauts: NASA’s Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. Demo-2 is scheduled for no earlier than May. NASA hasn’t announced a date for the four-person operational mission, but said it is targeted for later this year.
Walker is an ISS veteran who stayed at the station in 2010. Noguchi has experience flying on a space shuttle and also spent time on the ISS in 2009 and 2010.
SpaceX successfully sent anlast year and passed a series of key tests to into space.
NASA is hoping to end its dependence on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Boeing is also in the process of developing a crew capsule, though itsthan SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.
The new spaceflight assignments show that NASA is looking beyond the critical Demo-2 mission to a time when Crew Dragon will be in regular rotation as a ferry for astronauts.
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