NASA has announced that it is now targeting November 14 at 23:49 UTC for the launch of the first operational SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station.
The NASA SpaceX Crew-1 mission had initially been slated for October 31. However, on October 10, NASA announced that the launch had been postponed due to a late abort during a non-NASA SpaceX Falcon 9 launch attempt.
In a series of tweets on October 21, NASA Associate Administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, Kathy Lueders revealed that the agency planned to use the launch of the joint NASA-ESA Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich climate satellite on November 10 to validate that the Falcon 9 was safe for crewed flight. Lueders added that the agency would require a few days following the mission to review data from the flight before making a decision.
Despite the decision on the Falcon 9 rocket’s suitability for crewed flight still pending, NASA announced in a statement on October 26 that the agency was targeting a November 14 launch date for the SpaceX Crew-1 mission.
In addition to announcing the revised launch date, NASA invited media representatives to an October 28 teleconference during which the agency would discuss the results of recent Falcon 9 Merlin engine testing. The statement, however, also again reiterated that the agency would conduct a thorough review of the performance of the Falcon 9 during the Sentinel-6 flight before giving the green light for the launch of the Crew-1 mission.
Crew-1 is expected to carry NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and mission specialist Soichi Noguchi of JAXA. The four crewmembers will rendezvous with the International Space Station and join the Expedition 64 crew of Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins.