Crew-2 Endeavour to Complete Orbital Shift Change with Previous CCP Crew
Camarillo, CA — Saalex Corp. supported the successful launch of SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) Friday, April 23, marking the second fully operational flight for the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) and the first fully operational mission for the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft. The spacecraft lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 partially reusable rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, bound for the ISS with a four-person crew representing NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The Crew-2 mission follows the successful launch of its companion Crew-1 mission aboard the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft in November 2020. As with previous CCP missions, Saalex’s Expendable Launch Vehicle Integrated Support 3 (ELVIS 3) team provided engineering, programmatic, and technical support for the mission.
Crew-2 is the first launch of a flight-proven Dragon 2 and the first crewed launch on a flight-proven Falcon 9. Crew-2 marks the second United States Crew Vehicle (USCV) mission and the third crewed flight of Dragon.
Crew-2 astronauts include NASA spacecraft commander Shane Kimbrough and pilot Megan McArthur as well as JAXA mission specialist Aki Hoshide and ESA mission specialist Thomas Pesquet. While all crew members are veteran astronauts, the Crew-2 mission marks McArthur’s first visit to the ISS.
Endeavour will dock with the ISS on Friday, April 23, where its crew will prepare to relieve the crew of Resilience, NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi. After a five-day shift change, the Resilience crew will undock from the ISS on Wednesday, April 28, and splash down off the Florida coast after spending 164 days on the station. The Crew-2 team will remain on ISS for roughly six months at which time they will hand the station over to the Crew-3 crew.
In preparation for Endeavour’s arrival, the Crew-1 team carried out another Commercial Crew first earlier this month, successfully undocking Resilience from the ISS’s Earth-facing Harmony Node 2 forward docking port and moving the spacecraft to the station’s Zenith, or space-facing docking port. The maneuver is expected to become commonplace with regular commercial missions to the station in the future.
Saalex President and CEO, Travis Mack, praised the efforts of the ELVIS 3 team’s continued support of the Launch Services Program (LSP) and CCP mission.
“We are demonstrating that commercial space flight can be as reliable as commercial aircraft flight,” Mack said. “This is the key to moving the technology forward. It’s one thing to show what you can achieve with a single breakthrough, but to be able to repeat it consistently will determine the viability of opening up this new frontier to commerce. Saalex continues to show that we have the talent and programs in place to get the job done.”
For the ELVIS 3 contract, Saalex has teamed with a.i. solutions to support LSP and CCP, delivering integrated launch preparation and execution services for the agency’s next-gen scientific and exploration space vehicles.