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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.

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Meghan Bartels
SPACE.COM SENIOR WRITER — Meghan is a science journalist based in New York City. She joined Space.com in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.