Apr 22, 2021 - Science

SpaceX set to launch new crew of astronauts for NASA Friday

A SpaceX rocket stands on a pad framed by trees.

The Falcon 9 rocket stands on its pad ahead of launch. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX is slated to send four new crewmembers to the International Space Station on Friday.

Why it matters: This will mark the third crewed flight for the company, which has big plans to one day launch people to the Moon and eventually to Mars.

Details: The crew includes NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and the European Space Agency's Thomas Pesquet.

  • The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the astronauts within their Crew Dragon capsule is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 5:49 a.m. ET on Friday.
  • NASA will air live coverage of the launch starting at 1:30 a.m. ET, with continuous coverage through the crew's docking with the space station expected on Saturday.

The big picture: These missions are designed to end NASA's reliance on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft and rocket for transportation to the space station.

  • What to watch: Boeing is also expected to start flying astronauts to the station under a contract with NASA. Its uncrewed test flight is anticipated to fly in August or September, with crewed flights after that.
Go deeper