POT and SpaceX Their goal is no earlier than Thursday, February 22, for the launch of the agency’s Crew-8 mission to International Space Station. Processing of Crew-8 hardware and ground systems continues for SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket, as operations teams recently completed critical crew training in preparation for launch.
NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, commander; Michael Barratt, pilot; and mission specialist Jeanette Epps, as well as roscosmos Mission specialist cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin will travel to the orbital laboratory aboard Crew-8 to begin a stay of about six months that will include operational and research tasks.
Dragon spacecraft: preparation for the fifth flight
Crew-8 will fly to the space station aboard the Dragon spacecraft, called Endeavor, which is currently being refitted for its fifth flight. The Dragon spacecraft previously supported NASA’s Demo-2, Crew-2 and Crew-6 flights, as well as Axiom Space’s Axiom Mission 1 flights to and from the orbiting laboratory. As part of the renovation process, teams have installed new components such as the heat shield, parachutes, capsule panels, Draco engines and nose cone.
SpaceX recently completed checkouts of Dragon’s propulsion system at the company’s processing facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Teams will soon stack Dragon in its trunk before transporting the spacecraft to SpaceX’s hangar at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration with the rocket.
Falcon 9: Preparing for maiden flight with Crew-8
Meanwhile, teams are also preparing the Falcon 9 booster that will make its first flight on Crew-8. The booster recently completed stage testing and will undergo final assembly at SpaceX’s hangar at Launch Complex 39A ahead of the Dragon and Falcon 9 companion. Once all rocket and spacecraft systems checkouts are complete, The integrated stack will be rolled onto the platform and raised to the vertical for a static fire test prior to launch.
As part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, Crew-8 is the ninth human spaceflight mission supported by a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and the eighth crew rotation mission to the space station since 2020 for NASA.