NASA and SpaceX Adjust the Agency’s Crew-4 Launch Date

NASA astronauts and Crew-4 crew members Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines and Kjell Lindgren stand alongside ESA astronaut and Crew-4 crewmember Samantha Cristoforetti. (Credit: SpaceX)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX now are targeting no earlier than 5:26 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 23, for the launch of the agency’s Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The date adjustment provides mission teams time to complete final prelaunch processing for the Crew-4 mission following the April 8 launch of Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) to the space station.

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Japanese Space Tourists to Carry Out Experiments on ISS

Yusaku Maezawa participates in a pre-flight medical experiment. (Credit: CPK/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Rocosmos PR) — During each long half-year expedition to the International Space Station, Russian cosmonauts conduct more than fifty experiments in various scientific fields. However, for space medicine, even a short flight is a source of information for the development of means and methods for maintaining the health of crews in zero gravity.

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Spacewalkers Complete Battery Swaps for Station Power Upgrades

NASA astronauts Nick Hague (top) and Anne McClain work to swap batteries in the Port-4 truss structure during today’s spacewalk. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Expedition 59 Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Anne McClain of NASA concluded their spacewalk at 2:40 p.m. EDT. During the six-hour, 39-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully replaced nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays.

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NASA Replaces Astronaut on Upcoming Space Station Flight

Jeanette Epps (Credit: NASA)

NASA has replaced an astronaut set to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in June with a backup.

Jeanette Epps, who was set to become the first African American crew member on the space station, has been reassigned to the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the space agency announced. She will be considered for future flights.

“Serena Auñón-Chancellor, who previously was assigned to Expedition 58/59, has been reassigned to the Expedition 56/57 crew, launching in June,” NASA said in a press release. ” Anne McClain, a member of the 2013 astronaut class, will fly on the Expedition 58/59 crew, launching in November.”

NASA did not give provide a reason for the reassignment of Epps, who was selected as an astronaut in 2009.

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Significant Commercial Crew Challenges Ahead for Boeing, SpaceX & NASA


Key Excerpts from

NASA Commercial Crew Program:
Continued Delays Pose Risks for Uninterrupted Access to the International Space Station

Government Accountability Office
[Full Testimony]

Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Space,
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,
House of Representatives
Statement of Cristina T. Chaplain Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management
January 17, 2018

Space X Risks

Dragon 2 wledment and heat shield. (Credit: SpaceX)

Similar to our findings in February 2017, our ongoing work indicates that the Commercial Crew Program’s top programmatic and safety risks for SpaceX, are in part, related to ongoing launch vehicle design and development efforts.

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Updated SpaceX Commercial Crew Schedule

Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)
Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX plans to conduct an automated flight test of its Dragon 2 crew spacecraft to the International Space Station in February 2018 , followed by a similar test with a crew four months later in June

That is the latest schedule presented to the NASA Advisory Council this week by agency officials. If the schedule holds and the tests go well, the Dragon 2 will be certified to carry astronauts to the station in September of next year.

In addition to the two flight tests, SpaceX will need to validate Dragon 2’s propulsion module, certify the parachute system, and conduct an in-flight abort test before it receives certification for the vehicle.

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