Following the historic launch of their first humans — Dough Hurley and Bob Behnken — into space, SpaceX is about to make history again. This time, astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi are all set to embark on SpaceX Crew-1: the first operational crewed flight since the Demo-2 mission back in May 2020.
On Saturday, November 14th, the next four astronauts will climb aboard a Crew Dragon capsule (named Resilience) attached to a Falcon 9 rocket and launch around 7:49 p.m. EST. The launch starts at the Kennedy Space Center, sending the astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) for a six-month mission.
Soichi Noguchi is the only non-American astronaut on this mission and will be representing the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). All four astronauts arrived at the Kennedy Space Center earlier this week and gave speeches.
SpaceX Demo-2 vs. SpaceX Crew-1
There will be some major differences between the Demo-2 mission and the Crew-1 mission. For starters, the obvious difference is that the number of crew members increases from two to four. Also, the duration of the mission is being increased from three to six months. Other differences are more technical. Learn more about the differences between the Demo-2 and Crew-1 missions in the video below:
Overall, this latest mission will have the four astronauts performing work and living life on the ISS. This continues the next era of American spaceflight as NASA previously had to send astronauts to space aboard Russian rockets.
SpaceX aims to make these crewed flights a regular occurrence. They are also partnering with private space tourism companies Space Adventures and Axiom Space to ferry everyday citizens to and from space.