Cape Canaveral, Florida (AP) — SpaceX prepares for a third astronaut launch within a year after receiving a green light from NASA a week before its scheduled flight next Thursday Is proceeding.
NASA and Elon Musk space company managers cleared up the Falcon rocket and dragon capsules on Thursday for a dawn lift-off with four crew members to the International Space Station. They spend six months in orbiting laboratories, replacing another SpaceX crew member who is about to return home.
Rockets and capsules are designed to be reusable. The rocket was used to launch the current station crew from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center last November. A capsule called Endeavor is also played repeatedly. On the first crew flight of SpaceX last spring, we carried two test pilots to the space station.
SpaceX has redesigned both and added a safety upgrade. With the exception of some new valves, thermal protection covers and parachutes, most of the capsules are already “flight certified,” company officials say.
Three astronauts, NASA’s Shane Kimbro, France’s Tomaspesuke, and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide, are back on their second space station mission. NASA astronaut Megan McArthur was part of the last Hubble Space Telescope repair team in 2009.
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