CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami/AP) – SpaceX is gearing up for its third astronaut launch in below a 12 months, after getting the go-ahead from NASA every week forward of its subsequent deliberate launch.

Managers from NASA and Elon Musk’s area firm Thursday cleared the Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule for a daybreak liftoff on Thursday, April 22, with a crew of 4 to the Worldwide Area Station.

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They may spend six months on the orbiting lab, changing one other SpaceX crew that’s near coming residence.

This would be the first crew flight utilizing a recycled Falcon and Dragon. Each have been designed for reuse.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complicated 39-A at Kennedy Area Middle, Fla., carrying the CRS-21 Cargo Dragon 2 capsule, Sunday, December 6, 2020. Headed to the Worldwide Area Station, it’s the first flight of the Dragon 2 spacecraft within the second section of NASA’s Industrial Resupply Service. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune Information Service through Getty Photos)

The rocket was used to launch the present station crew final November from NASA’s Kennedy Area Middle. The capsule, dubbed Endeavour, additionally will likely be making a repeat efficiency; it carried two take a look at pilots to the area station on SpaceX’s first crew flight final spring.

SpaceX refurbished each and added security upgrades. Many of the capsule is already “flight confirmed,” firm officers famous, apart from some new valves, thermal safety covers and parachutes.

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Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s human exploration workplace, stated it was “transferring” to be on the verge of flying three SpaceX crew flights in 11 months.

“Wanting again, it’s actually, actually wonderful what each the SpaceX and NASA groups have achieved,” she stated.

SpaceX stated it should resolve one subject earlier than conducting a take a look at firing on the launch pad this weekend. It seems the corporate has been loading extra liquid oxygen into its first-stage boosters than anticipated, and engineers wish to make “further sure” that poses no security dangers, stated Invoice Gerstenmaier, a brand new SpaceX vice chairman who used to work for NASA.

This undated photograph made obtainable by SpaceX in April 2021 reveals the crew for its third astronaut launch to the Worldwide Area Station, throughout a coaching session on the SpaceX coaching facility in Hawthorne, Calif. From left are mission specialist Thomas Pesquet of the European Area Company, pilot Megan McArthur and commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA, and mission specialist Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Company. (SpaceX through AP)

Three of the astronauts are again for his or her second area station mission: NASA’s Shane Kimbrough, France’s Thomas Pesquet and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide. NASA astronaut Megan McArthur was a part of the ultimate Hubble Area Telescope restore workforce in 2009.

For almost a decade, the one path to the area station for astronauts was on Russian rockets. NASA turned to personal corporations for taxi service after the area shuttles retired in 2011. SpaceX has been delivery cargo to the area station since 2012, utilizing the identical sort of rocket and related capsules, and recycling these elements as nicely.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Related Press contributed to this report.)



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