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SpaceX, NASA target April 20 for next Crew Dragon launch to space station

The Crew-2 mission astronauts — from left, ESA's Thomas Pesquet, NASA's Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, and JAXA's Akihiko Hoshide — train for their upcoming mission on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which is scheduled to launch no earlier than April 20, 2020.
The Crew-2 mission astronauts — from left, ESA's Thomas Pesquet, NASA's Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, and JAXA's Akihiko Hoshide — train for their upcoming mission on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which is scheduled to launch no earlier than April 20, 2020. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX will launch the Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station on a Crew Dragon capsule no earlier than April 20, according to a statement from NASA.

The four astronauts on board the Crew Dragon will blast off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida atop a Falcon 9 rocket to embark on a stay of about six and a half months in orbit.

Crew-2 will carry NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

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

The Crew-2 launch is timed to allow the quartet to arrive before the four Crew-1 astronauts currently living and working in space return home; they will return sometime in late April or early May, according to the NASA statement.

Crew-1, SpaceX's first full-fledged crewed flight for NASA, launched in November and includes NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

During the Crew-1 mission, the space station hosted two visiting Dragon vehicles simultaneously for the first time, when a cargo variant arrived in December bearing supplies and science equipment. The period between Crew-2's arrival and Crew-1's departure will mark the first time the station hosts two Crew Dragon vehicles simultaneously.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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