NASA and SpaceX target Halloween for first Crew Dragon launch with astronauts

NASA and SpaceX confirmed the specific launch date for the first crewed mission of the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The agencies are targeting 2:40 AM EDT Saturday, October 31, to launch the SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA says that the new target date will resolve a conflict with the Crew-1 launch and the arrival of upcoming Soyuz launch and landing operations.

The extra time will ensure the closure of all open work on the ground and aboard the station ahead of Crew-1 arriving. NASA says increase spacing will also provide an acceptable window of opportunity to conduct additional testing to isolate the station atmosphere leak if required. Currently, SpaceX continues to make progress preparing the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket.

By adjusting the date, the teams have additional time for completion of work ahead of launch. Astronauts aboard the first mission will include Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker from NASA. A JAXA astronaut, Soichi Noguchi, is part of the crew as well. The spacecraft will launch from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Crew Dragon launch marks the first time an international crew will fly aboard a NASA-certified, commercially-owned, and operated American rocket and spacecraft from American soil. This is also the first crewed launch of American astronauts from American soil since the space shuttle fleet retired.

The crew carried to the space station on Crew Dragon will spend six months aboard the ISS. NASA is currently in the final stages of data reviews required ahead of certification following the SpaceX Demo-2 test flight. An update on mission progress will be given Tuesday, September 29, at 11 AM EDT.