NASA targets October for next SpaceX Crew Dragon launch to space station

The Crew 1 astronauts strapped into a SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle. Left to right: NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, pilot Victor Glover, commander Michael Hopkins and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. NASA

With two test flights behind them, NASA and SpaceX are targeting October 23 for the first operational launch of a Crew Dragon spacecraft on a flight carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station, space agency officials said Friday.

The “no-earlier-than” launch target assumes official NASA certification following a detailed review of data collected during a piloted Crew Dragon test flight earlier this summer. So far, officials say, no major issues have come to light that would prevent clearance to proceed with operational space station crew rotation missions.

If that holds up, the Crew Dragon capsule, perched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, would blast off from historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center around 5:47 a.m. EDT on October 23, although sources say the flight could slip a few more days when all is said and done.

On board whenever it takes off will be NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Shannon Walker, making their second space flight each, rookie astronaut Victor Glover, and veteran Japanese flier Soichi Noguchi, making his third flight to the space station. If all goes well, they will dock at the station’s forward port the day after launch.

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