Second SpaceX astronaut mission pushed to 23 October due to spacecraft 'traffic', ISS needs

The commercial mission will be the first to the ISS with NASA certification, following the successful Demo-2 mission.

The first operational flight with astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) has been delayed according to a statement released by NASA. While the mission was set to launch in late September, the date has now been pushed to 23 October 2020.

According to a NASA statement dated 14 August, the new date for the SpaceX Crew-1 mission was scheduled to "accommodate spacecraft traffic" for the rotation of Soyuz crewmembers currently in space, and to suitably "meet the needs of the International Space Station".

Under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, four astronauts will be flying to the ISS for a six-month mission.

The Crew Dragon craft would be flying with the Falcon 9 rocket and the launch will be taking place from the Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Crew Dragon is the modified version of the Cargo Dragon that SpaceX has been using during its re-supply missions to the ISS.

The Crew Dragon is the modified version of the Cargo Dragon that SpaceX has been using during its re-supply missions to the ISS.

Three NASA astronauts – Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialist Shannon Walker will be joined in the mission with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission specialist Soichi Noguchi. It will be the first mission, NASA said, to reach the space station after the completion of NASA certification. It will follow the successful Demo-2 mission that flew astronauts to the ISS and back.

The launch will take place once the astronauts aboard the orbiting space station depart the ISS or return to Earth. So, the Crew-1 mission will begin only post the arrival of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. Also, it will follow the departure of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner from the ISS.

While the mission awaits some data reviews and certification, the delayed time frame, as per the space agency, will buy some time for a "crew handover" with the upcoming NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission, scheduled to launch next spring.

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