SpaceX successfully launched four astronauts on Friday in the previously used Endeavor capsule, with a repurposed Falcon 9 rocket part. This is SpaceX’s third manned mission in a year.
The Crew-2 mission had a successful launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Friday. On board the Dragon capsule are two American NASA astronauts, one from the Japanese space agency JAXA and the Frenchman Thomas Pesquet from ESA. The four make a twenty-four hour trip to the International Space Station.
SpaceX uses the same Endeavor capsule as its first manned spaceflight, a demo flight in March last year. Then two NASA astronauts were on board. One of them, Bob Behnken, is the husband of one of the astronauts on the current Crew-2 mission, Megan McArthur. The first stage of the now used Falcon 9 was also deployed last year, with the Crew-1 mission.
On the Crew-1 mission, the Dragon capsule Resilience transported four astronauts to the ISS last November. The launch of Crew-2 should have taken place on Thursday, but wind and high waves in the Atlantic Ocean made SpaceX opt for a postponement to Friday. The capsule would land in the ocean in the event of launch problems.
Crew Dragon will dock at the ISS on Saturday. If successful, the astronauts will spend six months in the space station.