SpaceX Crew Dragon-2 On Target Toward the ISS

Faye Higbee

The SpaceX Crew Dragon-2 launched successfully at 5:49 a.m. from Cape Canaveral on Friday morning. Its crew this time consisted of 2 Americans, one Japanese, and one European member from France. And this time it reused the same capsule dubbed Endeavor that was used before. As of Saturday morning, it successfully docked with the International Space Station.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon-2
Screenshot of SpaceX launch April 23, 2021 via NASA

The SpaceX Crew Dragon-2 crew included spacecraft commander Shane Kimbrough, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide (JAXA, Japan), Thomas Pesquet (ESA, France). It was the first time the European Space Agency participated in a commercial launch. Today’s launch was successful.

Hoshide from JAXA, (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Pesquet, (European Space Agency), will serve as mission specialists for the 6 month science mission aboard the ISS. The SpaceX Crew Dragon-2 will conduct at least 200 experiments, some of which will be medical in nature.

Among the research investigations, the crew will assist with are several tissue chip experiments. Biomedical researchers have created small systems of cells and tiny organoids that grow on tissue chips and mimic the actions of those cells inside the human body. 

The crew will also test a new portable ultrasound device that’s designed to help astronauts on long-duration missions to the moon and eventually Mars. Read more about the experiments at the link.

The Commercial Crew Program – partnership to the stars. SpaceX Crew Dragon-2

“If you have rapid and complete reusability, then that is the gateway to the heavens. That’s what we’re trying to get done, and the support of NASA makes a huge difference,” Musk said after the launch.

Just a week ago, NASA awarded SpaceX a nearly $3 billion contract to provide the lunar lander that will deliver astronauts to the surface of the moon — Musk’s Starship, intended to be fully reusable to attain his ultimate prize of carrying astronauts to Mars and building a city there..

Flying in a recycled capsule Friday provided a bit of deja vu for NASA astronaut Megan McArthur. She launched in the same seat in the same capsule as her husband, Bob Behnken, did during SpaceX’s first crew flight. This time, it was Behnken and their 7-year-old son waving goodbye. McArthur blew kisses and offered virtual hugs.


The crew is set to dock at the ISS (International Space Station) on Saturday.

This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners. The flight follows certification by NASA for regular flights to the space station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock to the space station about 5:10 a.m. Saturday, April. 24.



Featured photo: screenshot via NASA of the first stage release.

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