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Launches: NASA, SpaceX target October 3 for Crew-5 launch

Launches: A rocket sits on the launch pad with pink clouds behind.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center on October 27, 2021. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Mission will rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program no earlier than October 3, 2022. Read more in Launches. Image via NASA/ Joel Kowsky.

Launches: NASA, SpaceX target October 3 for Crew-5 launch

NASA and SpaceX may be a little cautious about the Crew-5 launch date in the wake of a week of launch delays for the latest Starlink mission and the famously delayed Artemis 1 liftoff. On September 23, 2022, NASA and SpaceX announced a date of “no earlier” than Monday, October 3, 2022, for the start of the Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station.

They’ll ride to space aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance capsule paired with a brand new Falcon 9 booster from Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. The time of the liftoff was not announced.

The crew includes Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada of NASA, both on their first flight since becoming astronauts in 2013. Joining them is Koichi Wakata of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on his fifth flight. They’ll also have along another launch rookie, Anna Kikina of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. Mann is the Crew-5 mission commander.

Plans while on the ISS

The group will be kept busy once on orbit with the hundreds of experiments they’ll monitor at the ISS. According to NASA:

Experiments will include studies on printing human organs in space, understanding fuel systems operating on the moon, and better understanding heart disease. These are just some of the more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations that will take place during their mission.

The newest residents of the ISS will join three others who recently arrived via a Soyuz launch from Russia last week. Crew-5 is scheduled for a six-month stay at the station.

Meanwhile, back at the ISS, NASA said the latest trio of spacefarers are settling in:

The newest crew members aboard the orbiting lab, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, are starting their station orientation and familiarization activities. The trio will be reviewing a host of station systems, lab hardware and safety procedures over the next few days to adjust to living and working in weightlessness over 250 miles (400 km) above the Earth.

Bottom line: The four-member Crew-5 Mission to the ISS will launch no earlier than October 3, 2022.

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