NASA announces third Dragon flight crew


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NASA today announced four-person Dragon flight crew for that spacecraft’s third flight in the spring, the second official operational flight.

NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough will join JAXA’s Akihiko Hoshide and ESA’s Thomas Pesquet on that flight, which will follow Crew-1 currently scheduled for sometime in late September after Demo-2 concludes. This is a regular mission, meaning the crew will be staffing the International Space Station for an extended period – six months for this stretch, sharing the orbital research platform with three astronauts who will be using a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to make the trip.

Pesquet will be the first European to fly on Dragon. McArthur however is more interesting, in that this will be her first spaceflight in more than a decade. She had previously flown only once before, in 2009 on the last Hubble repair mission. She is also the wife of Bob Behnken, who is on ISS right now having flown on the first Dragon manned mission now preparing for its return to Earth on August 2nd.

The long gap in flights was certainly due to the shuttle’s retirement. Why she didn’t fly on a Soyuz is a question some reporter should ask her at some point.

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9 comments

  • Ray Van Dune

    Bob Behnken and Meghan MacArthur, future Captain and XO of first Starship to Mars?

  • Captain Emeritus

    I guess I just don’t get it.
    With all the tremendous robot data from Mars over the past decades and the average surface temp at -55F., what is the rush to plant our flag there?
    Are there resources worth exploiting there?
    I have always been immensely disappointed that the exploration of our moon was curtailed after just a few visits.
    We should have had permanent manned bases by the seventies and exploring the whole solar system by now.
    I am grateful to have lived long enough to see the revolutionary approach to space travel by the genius of Mr. Musk and SpaceX.
    He is presently building the Earth’s first true SpaceShip.
    Very exciting times!

  • sippin_bourbon

    “Are there resources worth exploiting there? ”

    Well that is a good question.
    Seems to me that a planet is a big place. I seriously doubt the make up of the planet is uniform, anymore than our own is.

    We have had 4 successful rovers and 10 landers. We have literally scratched the surface, with 68km (approximately) covered by the rovers.

    We have pictures, and can create a surface map, but that does not tell us much about what resources may lie beneath.

    Yep, seems to me that is a good question that needs answered about Mars, or the Moon, or Venus, or Ceres, or…

  • Edward

    Captain Emeritus asked: “With all the tremendous robot data from Mars over the past decades and the average surface temp at -55F., what is the rush to plant our flag there? Are there resources worth exploiting there?

    Since SpaceX and Elon Musk are the ones planning to get there soonest, they would be the right people to ask.
    https://www.spacex.com/human-spaceflight/mars/index.html

    The early years will undoubtedly be mostly exploration. We can get far more exploration done faster with people than with our remote rovers. The cost per datapoint will be much lower. For the foreseeable future, information will be Mars’s main product, but now that we are in the Information Age, that is a reasonable product.

  • Max

    “Are there resources worth exploiting there? ”

    If resources are found, then people will come to exploit them.

    Without resources, there’s enough carbon dioxide to provide for life and existence. The human race can survive there but it won’t be fun. Cold, dusty, nuclear energy would be the only reliable source for life.

    With resources, life Will more than survive, it will thrive and expand and be an environment made for human habitation with all the amenities.
    Export becomes possible, and expansion to Jupiter, Saturn, mercury, and the astroids becomes more likely with two planets to provide for. With resources, anything is possible. “If there is gold in them thar hills, expect a gold rush”.

    I agree, the moon will be the primary colony. (As a stepping off point for the rest of the solar system.) Resources that are easier to obtain, like fuel from the ice of Europa and metals from the moons, and astroid belt, Will be a priority to make materials available for permanent space habitation elsewhere.

    Mars is the goal because it is the closest available object that is doable. Jupiter and Saturn are so far away, so much colder, that it would take 10 times as much fuel, food, and Time/lifespan to reach. Once we go to Mars in the baby steps, then we can dream of the others.

    If resources are found on Mars, (and I believe the Chinese probe/Lander has magnetic, gravity, and spectral equipment to determine ore bodies from close orbit) then that will fuel the space race to the “moon” to be used as a launching platform to cut down on costs of regular flights to Mars and other destinations with promise.

    Expect change, both good and bad, as nations compete for what they can take. The more resources they find, the more desperate they will become as claim jumpers will take, if they are strong enough to hold it.
    The future of the planet for hundreds of years to come is at stake, and they know it.

    That’s why everyone is so excited about SpaceX, a private company, that doesn’t have military capabilities and threatens no nation. Only they can do the R&D and pioneer the way without political intrigue while offering their services to anyone who can pay. Neutral territory. A balancing act if maintained will benefit everyone. We all, including the future, wins.

  • LocalFluff

    I love space flight and watching rocket launches!
    But if my wife were on top of one of them bombs, I wouldn’t wanna watch. I’d go aside and cry. In the early years, that is. Later, yes yes, perhaps something goes wrong, darling!

  • Rose

    Megan McArthur has been assigned as Pilot for the Crew-2 mission (as with Shuttle crew titles, the pilot is more a copilot or first officer — Kimbrough will be Crew-2 Spacecraft Commander, as Doug Hurley is for DM-2), and since the DM-2 capsule is to be refurbished and reused for Crew-2, she will fly in the very same seat as her husband did.

  • Rose: Now that is most cool. Thank you for the tidbit.

  • Rose

    And on topic! ;-)

    I see that the linked news story doesn’t mention their assigned roles, so here is a link to the NASA release which does: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-announces-astronauts-to-fly-on-spacex-crew-2-mission-to-space-station

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