NASA Announces Astronauts for SpaceX’s Crew-2 Dragon Launch in 2021

Tropical storm may delay first SpaceX crew’s return to Earth

UCSD alumna Megan McArthur will visit ISS as mission pilot in 2021

NASA on Tuesday announced the four-member crew for the second operational SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station, which will be commanded by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough.

SpaceX made history at the end of May when it launched NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken toward the ISS on the SpaceX Demo-2 test flight mission - the first time astronauts blasted off from American soil since the end of the space shuttle program nearly a decade ago. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, lifted off May 30 on the company's Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Kimbrough, a retired Army colonel born in Texas and raised in Atlanta, will be the mission's spacecraft commander.

McArthur will be making her second trip to space, but her first to the station. McArthur is also the wife of fellow astronaut Bob Behnken, who is now at the ISS having launched on Crew Dragon for its first-ever human spaceflight. Pictured from left are NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

McArthur operated the shuttle's robotic arm over the course of the almost 13-day mission, capturing the telescope and moving crew members during the five spacewalks needed to fix and upgrade it. McArthur, who was born in Hawaii, has participated in a previous trip to space, according to NASA.

The Crew-2 astronauts are scheduled to stay on the space station for about six months, together with three other crew members who ill get there separately on a Russian Soyuz.

She holds a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a doctorate in oceanography from the University of California, San Diego.

That means there will be seven total crew members sharing the Station at once, which is an increase of its usual full complement of six.

This will be Hoshide's third spaceflight. However, he's already spent 196 days in space as he has traveled once, aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to the space station as part of Expeditions 50 and 51.

With this test flight, NASA and the US aerospace industry are marking the first successful launch of a crew to the space station on a commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft, and a safe return to Earth for that spacecraft and crew. A NASA statement said commercial transportation to and from the station will provide expanded utility, additional research time and broader opportunities for discovery on the orbital outpost. Alumna Jessica Meir returned from a visit to the International Space Station in April.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (L) and Doug Hurley (R) on seen on the ISS shortly after arriving aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on May 31.

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