NASA chief Jim Bridenstine has revealed that the first operational mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will be launched on August 30.
Bridenstine revealed the planned launch date of the first operational Crew Dragon flight during a preflight conference for the maiden crewed launch of the spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center this morning.
“Right now we’re targeting August 30 for the launch of Crew-1, the first SpaceX operational mission after Demo-2 returns,” said Bridenstine.
The Crew-1 mission will carry NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The four-person crew will rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station (ISS) as part of Expedition 64.
Although the exact length of the mission is yet to be determined, NASA has confirmed that operational Crew Dragon spacecraft will be capable of staying in orbit for “at least 210 days.”
The flight will be momentous for Victor Glover who will be the first African-American astronaut to live aboard the ISS. Glover will also be the first NASA rookie to fly aboard an American spacecraft in over a decade since James Dutton aboard STS-131.
However, before SpaceX and NASA can proceed with operational flights of the Crew Dragon, the duo will first need to ace the maiden crewed flight of the spacecraft.
Demo-2 is expected to lift off from the historic Pad 39 at the Kennedy Space Center on May 27 at 20:33 UTC. The spacecraft will carry NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. Once the pair have completed their 19-hour chase of the ISS, they will dock and begin their currently undetermined stay aboard the orbiting laboratory.