The growth of the space station crew within the six - enables NASA to double. A main goal of NASA's partnership with SpaceX is to give other countries' space agencies a viable alternative to Soyuz rockets as well. They include Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, who will also serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively. A minimum of three crew members have to be constantly present on the ISS to ensure it is working.
The assignment, which is slated to start in the spring of 2021, will enjoy NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur in addition to Akihiko Hoshide of the space program JAXA and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
All members of this crew have previously spent time in space, but this will be McArthurs' first trip to the International Space Station. Following the undocking, the spacecraft is targetted to splashdown on Sunday, August 2 at 2:42 PM EDT (on Monday, August 3 at 12:12 AM IST).
NASA will provide live coverage of activities leading up to, during, and following the return of the agency's SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with the agency's astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley from the International Space Station.
The online video is timed just forward of the scheduled return of the Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission.
Dr McArthur is an oceanographer who will be making her second voyage into space. After being selected as an astronaut in 2000, she launched on space shuttle Atlantis as a mission specialist on STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, in 2009. Roberto Vittori, an Italian astronaut, made the trip aboard NASA's Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2011.
The station is a critical testbed for NASA to understand and overcome the challenges of long-duration spaceflight. Kimbrough had joined NASA in 2000 and has completed 189 total days in space.
SpaceX's Crew-2 mission will mark his third flight into space.
The mission, carried out aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, was the second of three mission to deliver the Japanese Experiment Module (KIBO) to the ISS.
He flew to the ISS on Expedition 50/51, becoming the 10th French astronaut to head into space. He was launched aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and has spent 196 days in space.