SpaceX rolls rocket to pad ahead of Crew-7 astronaut launch (photos)

The hardware that will fly SpaceX’s Crew-7 astronaut mission has made it to the launch pad.

SpaceX rolled its Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule out to Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida overnight Sunday to Monday (Aug. 20 to Aug. 21). 

The company marked the milestone by posting three photos of the process on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday morning. Each shot is a closeup of the bright-white Dragon, named Endurance, which stands out starkly against the darkness of night (or early morning).

The Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch Endurance toward the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday (Aug. 25) at 3:49 a.m. EDT (0749 GMT). You can watch the Crew-7 liftoff here at when the time comes.

Crew-7 will send four atronauts to the ISS for a roughly six-month stay. The quartet consists of NASA’s Jasmin Moghbeli, Endurance’s commander; pilot Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency; mission specialist Konstantin Borisov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos; and mission specialist Satoshi Furukawa of Japan.

The four astronauts arrived at KSC on Sunday to begin final preparations for liftoff.


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Endurance’s bright and unblemished exterior belies its considerable spaceflight experience. The capsule also flew SpaceX’s Crew-3 and Crew-5 astronaut missions, meaning it has made the harrowing, fiery return through Earth’s atmosphere twice.

As its name indicates, Crew-7 will be the seventh operational astronaut mission that SpaceX flies to the ISS for NASA. But it will be the 11th crewed orbital flight for the company overall. SpaceX also launched the Demo-2 test mission in 2020 and three private orbital flights — Inspiration4 in September 2021, Ax-1 in April 2022 and Ax-2 in May 2023.


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