SpaceX's next astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA now has a target launch date.
Like SpaceX's previous astronaut missions, Crew-7 will employ the company's Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket. It will launch from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Crew-7 has a very international feel, as its four crewmembers represent four different space agencies.
The mission's commander is NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, while its pilot is Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency. Japan's Satoshi Furukawa and Konstantin Borisov, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, will serve as mission specialists.
Crew-7 will be the first spaceflight for Moghbeli and Borisov and the second for Mogensen and Furukawa, NASA officials said. The quartet will spend about six months aboard the International Space Station, then come back home to Earth in their Dragon, a vehicle named Endurance.
As its name suggests, Crew-7 is the seventh operational astronaut mission that SpaceX will fly to the orbiting lab for NASA. (Endurance flew two of those previous six — Crew-3 and Crew-5.) The crewmembers of the most recent such flight, Crew-6, launched on March 1 and will depart the ISS shortly after Crew-7 arrives.
Crew-7 will be SpaceX's 11th human spaceflight overall. In addition to the operational flights for NASA, the company launched Demo-2, a test flight to the ISS for the agency in 2020; Inspiration4, a private mission to Earth orbit in September 2021; and Ax-1 and Ax-2, crewed jaunts to the orbiting lab for Houston company Axiom Space in April 2022 and May 2023, respectively.