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SpaceX's first operational crewed mission to the ISS launches tonight

Morning of DM-2 // Photo: Ryan Bale // Spaceflight News

Tonight at 7:27pm EST, 4 Astronauts will be strapping into SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft on top of their workhorse Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 will be launching from Historic Launch Complex 39a, where many Apollo and Space Shuttle launches took place. This will be the first operational crewed mission for SpaceX and the first launch of a Certified Commercial Spacecraft developed and tested by a commercial company. The last human-certified spacecraft was NASA's Space Shuttle orbiter, the iconic rocket of American Spaceflight.

The Astronauts flying on Crew Dragon for this mission are NASA Astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and Shannon Walker, and JAXA Astronaut Soichi Noguchi. These four Astronauts will work and live on the International Space Station for 6 months after performing a series of burns once achieving orbit. This is the first of 3 Crewed launches for SpaceX over the course of 2020 and 2021.

Lets meet the Astronauts

SpaceX Crew-1 Rollout // Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA Astronaut Michael S. Hopkins started in 2009 after being one of the 9 people chosen in his class and graduated Astronaut Candidate Training in late 2011. Hopkins has only flown into space one time on a Russian Soyuz rocket, living and working on the ISS for 166 days from September 25th 2013 to March 10th 2014.

NASA Astronaut Victor J. Glover, Jr. was selected in 2013 while he served as a Legislative Fellow in the US Senate. He has accumulated over 3,000 flight hours over 40 aircraft and 24 combat missions. In 2015 he completed the Astronaut Candidate Training and has been training for the Crew-1 mission.

NASA Astronaut Shannon Walker was selected to be an Astronaut in 2004 and made her first flight into space in 2010 as a Flight Engineer for Expedition 24/25, which lasted 163 on the ISS. She began her work with NASA in 1987 as a Robotics Flight Controller for the Space Shuttle Program.

JAXA Astronaut Soichi Noguchi started as an Astronaut in May 1996 and completed two years of Astronaut Candidate Training at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Soichi flew on the Space Shuttle on STS-114 in 2005 and flew on a Russian Soyuz on Expedition 22/23, totalling his time in space to 177 days.

The weather for launch remains at 50% for favorable launch conditions with live coverage starting at 3:15pm EST. The crew will ingress into Crew Dragon roughly 2.5 hours prior to liftoff with fueling starting at T-45 minutes. A liftoff tonight will bring the spacecraft to the ISS tomorrow at 11pm EST with live coverage of docking. You can watch live on NASA TV or on SpaceX's webcast on YouTube or on their Website. Liftoff is scheduled for 7:27pm EST from LC-39a in Florida.



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