NASA’s next launch to the International Space Station (ISS) will happen on Saturday, November 14, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This will be the first crewed operational flight of a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, after a successful test flight early last summer.
The mission code name is Crew-1 and it will carry four astronauts: three of them from NASA (Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover, and Mission Specialist Shannon Walker) and one from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi). They will be staying in the ISS for six months and returning around June 2021.
Once they arrive at the space station, they will meet astronauts Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, completing the Expedition 64 crew. This will bring the total occupants of the ISS to seven. This is the highest number of long-term occupants the space station has had in a while, creating a bit of an issue for sleeping accommodations.
The members of the crew will snooze in sleeping bags strapped to the side of the cabin. If they didn't, they would float about and bump into things in their sleep. The issue for this expedition is that there are only six sleeping places in the ISS. Instead of playing sleeping musical chairs, Commander Hopkins will sleep elsewhere, potentially in the Crew Dragon Capsule.
The capsule, named Resilience, is designed to transport up to seven astronauts to the ISS, however it will also be carrying supplies and scientific experiments. The astronauts will grow radishes in space to expand our knowledge of bacteria in microgravity, as well as study human tissues and test technology for the future spacesuit to be used on the Moon.
The astronauts themselves will also be part of the experiments. Victor Glover's diet will be studied to improve nutrition and the astronauts' brains and cognition will be investigated thanks to a pair of high school students that designed experiments to study neural functions in space.
The launch won’t happen before 7:49 pm EST and will be streamed on all of NASA's social media channels. You can watch the broadcast below.