In an effort to kick off 2024 strong, the next crewed mission from NASA and SpaceX to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled to launch in February. In a post requesting media members to apply for credentials to witness the Falcon 9 liftoff with the Crew Dragon spacecraft from Florida at the Kennedy Space Centre, NASA officially confirmed a launch date of “no earlier than” mid-February.
The KSC is the only American spaceport equipped to launch crews to both deeper space and the International Space Station. Assuming NASA meets its deadlines for the Artemis 2 mission, the site itself is in for an exciting year. NASA will be sending astronauts to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo programme with Artemis 2.
The ninth crewed launch of the Dragon spacecraft by Falcon 9 is scheduled for mid-February, according to NASA and SpaceX.
The most recent Crew-8 mission timeline is an extension of the one provided by NASA in December of last year, and the two timelines are identical. The workhorse of American crewed space missions is SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, as demonstrated by its success with the Starlink programme. The Boeing-built SLS for Artemis will carry a crew to the Moon, but the Falcon 9 is the only rocket rated for human use that can carry people to the International Space Station. As such, it will probably continue to operate at a quicker rate on missions that get closer to the ISS.
The Crew Dragon is one of the few spacecraft in the world capable of conducting low Earth orbit (LEO) International Space Station (ISS) missions, along with spacecraft operated by Russian and Chinese space agencies. Only NASA astronaut Michael Barratt has made two previous space flights; three men on Crew-8 will be making their maiden space travels.
The crew’s mission on the ISS will come to an end. A full-duration flight under SpaceX’s Crew Dragon normally lasts six months, with the crew members landing and taking off from Earth together. This indicates that Crew-8’s mission will conclude in late August. The next crew complement arrives at the ISS ahead of their predecessors on a typical Crew Dragon trip. This will also apply to Crew-8, who will enter their ship and be ready for splashdown in August 2024 after completing a handover to Crew-9.
Furthermore, a NET mid-February launch window for Crew-8 implies that it may take place concurrently with Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander’s maiden landing attempt. With 20 payloads, Peregrine is scheduled to launch on Monday from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The lander, the first commercial lunar landing craft from the United States, is scheduled to touchdown on February 23rd. Of these, five are NASA payloads.