NASA and SpaceX have announced a target launch date for the Crew-7 mission that will carry a team of four to the International Space Station.
NASA is eyeing an Aug. 17 launch to begin its seventh ISS crew rotation. The crew is made up of mission specialist Konstantin Borisov, pilot Andreas Mogensen, commander Jasmin Moghbeli, and mission specialist Satoshi Furukawa. Unlike the previous six crewed space missions, SpaceX’s Crew-7 will be the first launch where there will only be one NASA astronaut aboard.
NASA’s Moghbeli will lead the several-month-long mission with fellow teammates from Japan, Europe, and Russia. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is expected to launch the crew aboard a Dragon spacecraft named Endurance from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
The spacecraft was previously used in SpaceX Crew-3 and Crew-5 missions to the space station.
NASA said integrated crews are typical and ensure safe operations of the ISS continue through at least 2030.
NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Roscosmos operate the station, with each space agency responsible for designated functions.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 crew in training at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, before their mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: SpaceX
Here’s a closer look at each crew member who will make up the SpaceX Crew-7 mission.
Roscosmos Cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov
Borisov was the final member of the team of four to join the SpaceX Crew-7 mission. The launch will be the first for the Russian cosmonaut who started training in 2018. If the launch remains on schedule, Borisov will be one of four Roscosmos in space.
Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin and Andrey Fedyaev are all aboard the ISS from previous missions.
As a mission specialist, Borisov will be tasked with conducting experiments and other functions.
"The main inspiration for me is the motivation to develop yourself as a professional to the level sufficient for long-term space expeditions," Borisov previously told the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. "The required level of knowledge, stamina, psychology, skills one has to develop brings you to a profession where you learn something new every day. And every day you are becoming one step closer, stronger and more capable of working and living in space."
NASA Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli
Moghbeli will be the only woman and U.S. astronaut aboard the August mission. The U.S. Marine Corps pilot was born in Bad Nauheim, Germany, but considers Baldwin, New York, to be home. Moghbeli has flown more than 150 combat missions, including over war zones, but the SpaceX Crew-7 mission will be her first venture into space.
ESA Astronaut Andreas Mogensen
Mogensen became the first Danish citizen in space in September 2015 and will become the first non-US pilot to operate a SpaceX spacecraft.
The 46-year-old is an aerospace engineer, and the SpaceX Crew-7 mission will be his second time at the ISS.
The European Space Agency has nicknamed its segment of the mission the "Huginn" and in addition to piloting, Mogensen is set to carry out numerous science experiments.
JAXA Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa
Japan’s Furukawa is the only member of the SpaceX Crew-7 mission who has been part of a long-duration stay aboard the ISS.
Furukawa previously served as a flight engineer aboard the space station during ISS Expedition 28-29 in 2011.
During the upcoming mission, Furukawa will serve as a mission specialist and be tasked with performing experiments and other functions aboard the ISS.
The SpaceX Crew-7 is expected to return to Earth sometime in early 2024.
Crew-7 mission overview
After docking, Crew-7 will conduct several days of handover activities with the departing astronauts of NASA's SpaceX Crew-6 mission. After the handover period, NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, along with UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev of Crew-6 will undock from the space station and splash down off the coast of Florida.
According to NASA, Crew-7 will conduct research to prepare for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit, including the collection of microbial samples from the exterior of the space station, the first study of human response to different spaceflight durations, and an investigation of the physiological aspects of astronauts' sleep. These are just a few of the more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations that will take place during their mission.
While aboard the orbiting laboratory, Crew-7 will see the arrival of both the SpaceX Dragon and the Roscosmos Progress cargo spacecraft. Crew-7 also is expected to welcome the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts, the Axiom Mission-3 crew, and the first cargo flight of Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser during their expedition. The Soyuz spacecraft with three new crew members also is planned for launch during their stay, and the Soyuz carrying NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin will depart after 371 days on the station.