NASA and SpaceX We plan to complete the final SpaceX astronaut spacecraft demonstration mission later this week, but are already looking forward to Crew-2 – Crew Dragon’s second operational flight, currently scheduled for next spring. The agency revealed the four people who will fly aboard this launch, including two NASA astronauts, one from the Japanese Aerospace Research Agency (JAXA) and one from the European Space Agency (ESA).
NASA astronauts Megan McCarthur and Shane Kimbrough will join JAXAs Akihiko Hoshide and ESAs Thomas Pesquet on this flight, which will follow Crew-1, which is currently scheduled for late September after Demo-2 is complete. This is a regular mission, which means that the crew will occupy the International Space Station for an extended period of time ̵
This means that a total of seven crew members share the station at the same time, which corresponds to an increase of the usual full crew of six. It sounds like NASA says this will become the new normal. The extra person means that the crew “can effectively double the amount of science that can be done in space.”
If it doesn’t sound like math clears that up, keep in mind that ISS crew members spend a lot of time on routine maintenance and operations. Indeed, a seventh person on board to help with these day-to-day activities should free up a lot of extra time to carry out experiments and research, as this means less time sharing for required but unscientific activities required to keep the orbital platform running smoothly .
All members of this crew have previously spent time in space, but this will be McArthur’s first trip to the International Space Station. Her last space trip was on board the Space Shuttle in 2009 when she participated in the last maintenance mission for the Hubble Space Telescope. McArthur is also the wife of astronaut Bob Behnken, who is currently on the ISS and has launched Crew Dragon for his first human space flight.