NASA Assigns Astronaut Jessica Watkins to NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Mission

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins is scheduled to fly to space for the first time as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission launching to the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has assigned astronaut Jessica Watkins to serve as a mission specialist on the agency’s upcoming SpaceX Crew-4 mission, the fourth crew rotation flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.

This will be Watkins’ first trip to space following her selection as an astronaut in 2017. Watkins joins NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Robert Hines, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, as a crew member for the Crew-4 mission.

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NOAA’s Next-Gen Weather Satellite, Built By Lockheed Martin, Moves Closer To Launch

GOES-T is seen here in its Lockheed Martin clean room in Colorado, following a solar array deployment test. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., Nov. 10, 2021 (Lockheed Martin PR) – Today, the next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-T successfully arrived at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, to begin launch preparations. It is the third of four satellites in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s GOES-R weather satellite series built by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] in Littleton, Colorado.

GOES-T will help NOAA provide forecasters in the U.S. and western hemisphere with sharper, more defined images of severe storms, hurricanes, wildfires and other weather hazards.

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Ball Aerospace Delivers NASA’s X-Ray Observatory to Kennedy Space Center for Launch

IXPE satellite (Credit: Ball Aerospace)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Ball Aerospace PR) — NASA’s Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), built by Ball Aerospace, safely arrived Friday at Cape Canaveral in Fla. A collaboration between Ball, NASA, and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), IXPE is an astrophysics observatory set to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in December.

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Crew-3 Arrives at International Space Station

The Expedition 66 crew poses for a photo after SpaceX Crew-3’s arrival to station. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Running more than 30 minutes ahead of schedule, the SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts docked to the International Space Station at 6:32 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov. 11, less than 24 hours after launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer opened the hatch of their Crew Dragon spacecraft Endurance at 8:25 p.m. and participated in a welcome ceremony with their new Expedition 66 crewmates at 9 p.m.

On board to welcome them were fellow astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos. Joining the welcome ceremony from Earth were Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator for Space Operations, NASA and Josef Aschbacher, ESA director-general.

The newest crew to the microgravity laboratory is the agency’s third crew rotation mission with SpaceX and will remain on board until April 2022 as a part of Expedition 66.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Crew-3 Launches to International Space Station From Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer onboard, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

A four-member crew is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) after liftoff aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday evening.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron along with Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency (ESA) lifted off aboard a Space Falcon 9 booster at 9:03 p.m. on a 22-hour long flight to the station. Crew members will spend six months on the station performing science activities.

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Coverage Update for Crew-3 Launch on Wednesday Night

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide updated coverage of the upcoming launch and docking activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission, which will carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

This mission marks the third time the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft has transported a crew rotation of astronauts to the station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. It will be the spacecraft’s fourth flight for the program with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight.

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Crew-2 Returns to Earth After Six Months on Space Station

Crew Dragon Endeavour under parachutes on Nov. 8, 2021. (Credit: NASA webcast)

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts splashed down at 10:33 p.m. EST in the Gulf of Mexico after 200 days in space.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) flew home aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour. They launched to the International Space Station on April 23 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Endeavour completed its second trip to space. The spacecraft flew NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken to the space station on a demonstration mission in May 2020. The astronauts returned to Earth on Aug. 2, 2020 after a mission lasting 64 days.

SpaceX will launch the Crew-3 mission on Wednesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron and ESA astronaut Matthias Mauer will fly to ISS aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon. The launch is scheduled for 9:03 EST.

Crew-2 Return Delayed to Monday Due to Weather

The members of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station. Picture from left are NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission now is targeting a return to Earth no earlier than 10:33 p.m. EST Monday, Nov. 8, with a splashdown off the coast of Florida. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 2:05 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, to begin the journey home. Mission teams decided to adjust the Sunday, Nov. 7, undocking following a planned weather review showing high winds unfavorable for recovery near the splashdown zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA will provide coverage of the mission on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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NASA, SpaceX Reviewing Commercial Crew Rotation Plans

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

HOUSTON, November 4, 2021 (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX continue to review launch and return opportunities for the upcoming crew rotation flights to and from the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Mission teams now are considering whether to return the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission from the space station ahead of launching the next crew rotation due to the associated weather considerations for both launch and recovery operations. 

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Crew Dragon Launch Delayed Due to Minor Medical Issue with Crew Member

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA is delaying the upcoming launch of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission due to a minor medical issue involving one of its crew members. The issue is not a medical emergency and not related to COVID-19. The launch to the International Space Station was planned for Wednesday, Nov. 3.

The agency takes every effort to protect the crew prior to its launch through a health stabilization plan. Crew-3 astronauts will remain in quarantine at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida while preparing for their launch.

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NASA Updates Coverage for SpaceX Crew-3 Launch to ISS

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA is updating its coverage of the upcoming launch and docking activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

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Weather Delays Crew-3 Flight to Station to Nov. 3

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 1:10 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Nov. 3, for the agency’s Crew-3 launch to the International Space Station due to a large storm system meandering across the Ohio Valley and through northeastern United States this weekend, elevating winds and waves in the Atlantic Ocean along the Crew Dragon flight path for the Oct. 31 launch attempt.

Weather conditions along the ascent corridor are expected to improve for a Nov. 3 launch attempt, and the 45th Weather Squadron forecast predicts an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions at the launch site.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander, Tom Marshburn, pilot, and Kayla Barron, mission specialist and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist, will launch on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Crew-3 astronauts are scheduled for a long-duration science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory, living and working as part of what is expected to be a seven-member crew.

Launch Nov. 3 would have Crew-3 arriving at the space station later the same day about 11 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, for a short handover with the astronauts that flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission.

Crew-2 NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet are currently targeting return in early November. Crew-3 astronauts are set to return in late April 2022.

NASA Tests Landing Pad Materials For Future Lunar Missions

Hot fire tests examined the suitability of the materials that could be used in the construction of landing pads on the lunar surface for large landers—materials like sintered basalt rock pavers, carbon fiber blankets, and carbon fiber blankets filled with a lunar regolith simulant. (Credits: NASA)

MOJAVE, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Large Vehicle Landing Surface Interaction project team is working to develop a landing pad concept for the Moon that could one day be constructed directly on the lunar surface. Researchers from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida who are working on improving plume surface interaction models traveled to the Mojave Desert in California to conduct materials testing with Masten Space Systems late last year.

Using hot gas from a rocket engine, they conducted a series of hot fire tests on samples of various materials similar to those found on the surface of the Moon. These tests examined the suitability of the materials that could be used in the construction of landing pads on the lunar surface for large landers—materials like sintered basalt rock pavers, carbon fiber blankets, and carbon fiber blankets filled with a lunar regolith simulant.

Data from the hot fire testing will be used to design landing pad concepts for future NASA and commercial human lunar missions. In addition to hot fire test data, the team is developing models to better understand how a lander can affect the lunar surface. This data will allow NASA to identify safe locations for large landers and help enable the agency’s Artemis missions. NASA’s Large Vehicle Landing Surface Interaction project is a public-private partnership with SpaceX under the 2019 Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity.

NASA’s Large Vehicle Landing Surface Interaction project, also referred to as “LPAD,” is funded by NASA’s Game Changing Development Program under the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

NASA Sets Coverage for SpaceX Crew-3 Briefings, Events, Broadcasts

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

The launch is targeted for 2:21 a.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 31, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon Endurance is scheduled to dock to the space station at 12:10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 1. Prelaunch activities, launch, and docking will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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NASA Announces Winners of Deep Space Food Challenge

NASA and the Canadian Space Agency have coordinated to open the Deep Space Food Challenge, targeted at developing novel food system technologies for long-duration deep space missions. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Variety, nutrition, and taste are some considerations when developing food for astronauts. For NASA’s Deep Space Food Challenge, students, chefs, small businesses, and others whipped up novel food technology designs to bring new solutions to the table.

NASA has selected 18 U.S. teams to receive a total of $450,000 for ideas that could feed astronauts on future missions. Each team will receive $25,000. Additionally, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) jointly recognized 10 international submissions.

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