SpaceX rolls rocket to pad ahead of Crew-7 astronaut launch (photos)

a white spacex dragon capsule is seen horizontally, pointing to the right, against a black background.
SpaceX rolls the Crew Dragon Endurance to the launch pad ahead of the planned Aug. 25, 2023 launch of the Crew-7 astronaut mission. (Image credit: SpaceX)

The hardware that will fly SpaceX's Crew-7 astronaut mission has made it to the launch pad.

SpaceX rolled its Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule out to Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida overnight Sunday to Monday (Aug. 20 to Aug. 21). 

The company marked the milestone by posting three photos of the process on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday morning. Each shot is a closeup of the bright-white Dragon, named Endurance, which stands out starkly against the darkness of night (or early morning).

The Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch Endurance toward the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday (Aug. 25) at 3:50 a.m. EDT (0750 GMT). You can watch the Crew-7 liftoff here at when the time comes.

Related: SpaceX Crew-7 astronaut plans to snap aurora photos on the ISS

The Crew Dragon Endurance already has two flights to the ISS under its belt. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Crew-7 will send four atronauts to the ISS for a roughly six-month stay. The quartet consists of NASA's Jasmin Moghbeli, Endurance's commander; pilot Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency; mission specialist Konstantin Borisov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos; and mission specialist Satoshi Furukawa of Japan.

The four astronauts arrived at KSC on Sunday to begin final preparations for liftoff.

Crew-7 will carry four astronauts from four different nations to the ISS. Liftoff is scheduled for Aug. 25, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Endurance's bright and unblemished exterior belies its considerable spaceflight experience. The capsule also flew SpaceX's Crew-3 and Crew-5 astronaut missions, meaning it has made the harrowing, fiery return through Earth's atmosphere twice.

As its name indicates, Crew-7 will be the seventh operational astronaut mission that SpaceX flies to the ISS for NASA. But it will be the 11th crewed orbital flight for the company overall. SpaceX also launched the Demo-2 test mission in 2020 and three private orbital flights — Inspiration4 in September 2021, Ax-1 in April 2022 and Ax-2 in May 2023.

This story was updated at 8:15 a.m. EDT Aug. 24 to reflect a new launch time.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.