NASA and SpaceX set November 14 target date for first operational Crew Dragon launch

The first mission to officially carry astronauts to the International Space Station for a standard crew rotation is now tentatively set for November 14. NASA provided an updated date for the mission this week, after it shifted from an original planned time frame of sometime in October. This is the first time that Crew Dragon, SpaceX’s human-rated capsule, will be flown for an operational “shift-change” mission at the ISS, after its historic Demo-2 mission earlier this year officially concluded its testing phase and certified it for NASA use.

This launch will carry three NASA astronauts, including Shannon Walker, Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins, as well as JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi of Japan to the ISS, where they’ll join the crew and carry out regular station operations, including upkeep and upgrades, as well as conducting experiments in partnership with researchers on Earth.

They’ll join the existing ISS crew, including Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins. Once they arrive, the full crew size will be seven astronauts, which is up from the usual six, but this will help ensure that more time is spent on research and experimentation versus the regular duties that the crew takes on just to ensure continued smooth operation of the station.

Crew-1 is set to launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, and is targeting a 7:49 PM EST liftoff. That’s subject to change, of course, but for now, mark your calendars.