SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule Endurance has made it to the launch pad ahead of next week’s planned astronaut liftoff.
Endurance just arrived at Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, SpaceX announced via X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday (Aug. 17). The capsule had previously been at a SpaceX refurbishment facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which is next door to KSC.
If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Pad 39A, carrying four astronauts toward the International Space Station (ISS) on SpaceX’s Crew-7 mission.
Thursday’s X post also featured two shots of the white capsule, whose unblemished surface belies its considerable spaceflight experience.
Endurance also flew the Crew-3 and Crew-5 astronaut missions to the ISS for NASA, which launched in November 2021 and October 2022, respectively.
— SpaceX: Facts about Elon Musk’s private spaceflight company
— Track the ISS: How and where to see it
— SpaceX’s Dragon: First private spacecraft to reach the space station
Crew-7 is a fully international affair, featuring astronauts from four different countries. They are NASA’s Jasmin Moghbeli, Endurance’s commander; Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency, who will serve as pilot; mission specialist Konstantin Borisov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos; and mission specialist Satoshi Furukawa of Japan.
The quartet will spend about six months aboard the orbiting lab. Their arrival at the ISS will be followed in relatively short order by the departure of the SpaceX Crew-6 astronauts, who have been living on the station since March 3.