Crew-2 (Falcon 9)
23 April 2021
Launch Complex 39A
Kennedy Space Center

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft with four astronauts onboard on the Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station for the NASA Commercial Crew Program from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center at 5:49 a.m. on 23 April 2021. The astronauts for the Crew-2 mission include Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, Akihiko Hoshide of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency). After a 23.5-hour trip the Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, will dock autonomously to the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module about 5:10 a.m. Saturday, 24 April 2021 for a six-month stay at the ISS.

Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet will join the Expedition 65 crew of Shannon Walker, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Mark Vande Hei of NASA, as well as Soichi Noguchi of JAXA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov. For a short time, the number of crew on the space station will increase to 11 people until Crew-1 astronauts Walker, Hopkins, Glover, and Noguchi return to Earth a few days later. The Crew-2 members will conduct science and maintenance during a six-month stay aboard the orbiting laboratory and will return no earlier than 31 October 2021.

The Crew-2 mission is the second of six crewed missions NASA and SpaceX will fly as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. This mission has several firsts, including:

  • First commercial crew mission to fly two international partners
  • First commercial crew hand over between astronauts on the space station as Crew-1 and Crew-2 astronauts will spend about five days together on station before Crew-1 returns to Earth
  • First reuse of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket on a crew mission – Crew Dragon Endeavour flew the historic Demo-2 mission and the Falcon 9 flew astronauts on the Crew-1 mission
  • First time two commercial crew spacecraft will be docked to station at the same time
Time exposure of the Crew-2 launch as it arcs over the horizon on the way to orbit. Note the diverging trails at right. The fainter trail is the first stage heading for a successful landing on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship stationed out in the Atlantic Ocean. The more prominent trail is the second stage taking the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft into orbit.
Time exposure of the fan-shaped second stage exhaust plume highlighted by the Sun just below the horizon.
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