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NASA announces astronauts to launch on SpaceX's Crew-2 Dragon in 2021

The crew for SpaceX's Crew-2 mission. From the left it's NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet.  (Image credit: NASA)

SpaceX's Crew-2 mission for NASA has its astronauts. 

NASA and its international partners have officially assigned the astronauts to fly on SpaceX's Crew-2 mission in spring of 2021, the U.S. space agency announced today (July 28). The mission will be SpaceX's second operational Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station, following the upcoming Crew-1 astrononaut mission, which is slated to launch in September. 

Crew-2 will include NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, who will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Hoshide and Pesquet will join Crew-2 as mission specialists.

Related: SpaceX's historic Demo-2 crewed test flight in photos

Crew-2 is set to launch in the spring of 2021, assuming that SpaceX's current Demo-2 and upcoming Crew-1 missions are successful. Demo-2 is scheduled to wrap up on Sunday (Aug. 2) when NASA astronauts Bob Behnken  and Doug Hurley return to Earth from the space station aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle. Interestingly enough, Behnken and Crew-2 crewmember McArthur are actually married. 

After The Crew-2 astronauts launch, they will spend about six months aboard the space station as expedition crew members. They will share the station with three crewmates (who will fly aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft), making for a total of seven astronauts on the space station.

All four Crew-2 astronauts are space veterans, with a variety of missions under their belts. 

Kimbrough has flown to space twice: first in 2008 on NASA's shuttle Endeavour as part of the STS-126 mission to the station, then again in 2016 on a Soyuz capsule as part of the Expedition 49/50 long-duration mission to the station. McArthur has flown to space once aboard space shuttle Atlantis as a mission specialist on STS-125, which was the final servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope

Hoshide was a part of two missions to space. On the first, STS-124 in 2008, he flew aboard the shuttle Discovery and on the second in 2012, he flew to the space station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for Expeditions 32 and 22. Pesquet has flown once, riding a Soyuz to the space station as part of Expeditions 50 and 51.

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