SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has been a huge success with the launch of DM-2 and Crew 1 for NASA last year. This year they have two more missions to launch crew rotations to the International Space Station with the next coming up soon.

Date: Thursday, April 22nd, 6:11 AM Est

Rocket: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 (B1061.2)

Capsule: Dragon Endeavour (C206-2)

Crew Position Agency
Shane Kimbrough Commander NASA
Megan McArthur Pilot NASA
Akihiko Hoshide Mission Specialist JAXA
Thomas Pesquet Mission Specialist ESA

Launch Pad: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center

Destination: International Space Station, Low Earth Orbit

Landing Site: Droneship Assignment TBD

The Capsule

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is a crew-rated variant of the Dragon 2 capsule used to shuttle cargo to the ISS as part of NASA’s Commercial Resupply contract. The first Crew Dragon took flight in March of 2019 for a week-long test in space, this was followed by an in-flight abort test and crewed test flight before being certified by NASA.

The Dragon capsule, while originally designed to land propulsively, splashes down in the ocean under the descent of 4 parachutes and can be reused for future crewed missions.

Dragon Endeavour

The historic Dragon capsule named Endeavour first flew SpaceX’s DM-2 mission. This was the first crewed flight from American soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011. This will be the first crewed reflight of a Dragon capsule after it went through a recertification and refurbishment process when it returned in August of 2020.

The capsule was named after the retired Space Shuttle Endeavour which was named after the research vessel HMS Endeavour that sailed the South Pacific during the 18th Century. The Apollo 15 command module also shares the name just spelled Endeavor but is still named after the same research ship.

Crew Dragon awaiting integration on top of a Falcon 9 rocket. Credit: SpaceX

The Rocket

SpaceX will be launching the next crew to the ISS on their workhouse rocket the Falcon 9, powered by 9 Merlin engines on the first stage and a single vacuum optimized Merlin engine on the second stage. The Falcon 9 became crew rated after the success of the DM-2 mission in 2020 and has launched to date 109 missions with a 98% success rate.

The Booster

For the first time, SpaceX will be allowed to launch a crewed mission for NASA on a flight-proven booster. B1061 first launched in November of last year carrying Crew 1 to the ISS and landed on Just Read The Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean. This will be the booster’s second flight and second crewed flight.

Crew 1 lifts off from LC-39A on top of a Falcon 9 rocket. Credit: NASA

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