On Saturday, April 24 at 5:08 a.m. EDT, 9:08 UTC, SpaceX’s Dragon autonomously docked with the International Space Station (ISS) after Falcon 9 launched the spacecraft to orbit from historic Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday, April 23 at 5:49 a.m. EDT, 9:49 UTC.
This is the first human spaceflight mission to fly astronauts on a flight-proven Falcon 9 and Dragon. The Falcon 9 first stage supporting this mission previously launched the Crew-1 mission in November 2020, and the Dragon spacecraft previously flew Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to and from the International Space Station during SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission in 2020.
As part of the Commercial Crew Program, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet flew aboard the Dragon spacecraft on its second operational mission to the space station. This will be the first time Dragon will fly two international partners and it will also be the first time two Crew Dragons are attached simultaneously to the orbiting laboratory.
After an approximate six-month stay, Dragon and the Crew-2 astronauts will depart from the space station no earlier than October 31 for return to Earth and splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
Following docking Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet joined 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. The crew was welcomed aboard during a ceremony with Steve Jurczyk, acting NASA administrator; Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters; Hiroshi Yamakawa, president, JAXA; and Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA.
- Shane Kimbrough (NASA)
- Megan McArthur (NASA)
- Thomas Pesquet (European Space Agency, or ESA)
- Akihiko Hoshide (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA)
Partner Agency Experts:
- Steve Jurczyk (Acting NASA Administrator)
- Bob Cabana (Kennedy Space Center Director)
- Junichi Sakai (JAXA ISS Program Manager)
- Frank de Winne (ESA ISS Program Manager)