Will they get mars bars?

Update: First U.S. Commercial Spacecraft, “Resilience,” to Launch November 14

The historic launch will inaugurate a new era in ISS operations, 20 years after the first mission left Earth’s orbit.

By Emma Schkloven October 27, 2020

From left, NASA mission specialist Shannon Walker; pilot Victor Glover; Crew Dragon Commander Michael Hopkins; and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut and mission specialist Soichi Noguchi are seated in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft during crew equipment interface training.

Image: NASA

Updated 11:46 a.m. Oct 27

Crew Dragon may be grounded for Halloween, but it appears they’ll be enjoying Turkey Day from space. NASA announced earlier this week that it is now targeting a November 14 launch for the debut mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Crew-1’s liftoff, originally planned for August, has faced several delays getting off the ground. NASA pushed it to late September, then to October 23 and, most recently, to November 3, citing technical issues. The most recent delay was linked to an issue with one or more of the Falcon 9’s engines.  

After taking flight next month, (lift off is now set for 6:49 pm CT from Cape Canaveral), will carry four astronauts to the International Space Station for a six-month science mission. This will be the first operational mission of Crew Dragon, SpaceX’s human-rated commercial capsule.

Updated 12:41 p.m. Oct 13 

No Halloween candy for SpaceX Crew Dragon. NASA has officially delayed the upcoming launch Crew-1 launch until November. Originally set to launch on Halloween, which also happens to be the 20th anniversary of the first ISS crew launch, SpaceX's history-making flight is now set for liftoff sometime in early- to mid-November. The delay will give NASA more time to resolve issues with the Falcon 9 rocket's first-stage engine gas generators, the agency announced this weekend. 

Published 2:45 p.m. Sept 29

Ain’t nothing spooky about this news, though you might just call it spooktacular. After years of work, NASA and SpaceX are finally set to launch the first commercially owned U.S. rocket to the International Space Station. And as it happens, the historic launch, called Crew-1, will bring a monumental era in space history full circle on an already special day.

The Crew-1 launch, planned for October 31, which follows on the heels of the successful test flight this spring, will be just the second time Elon Musk-owned SpaceX has propelled astronauts into space. According to NASA, the flight’s crew—U.S. astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi—will be the first international team to fly a NASA-certified capsule owned and operated by an American company. It will also be the first time an international crew member has flown on a commercial spacecraft from U.S. soil.

“This is another milestone, a critical milestone in the development of our ability to launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a September 29 press conference.

Following their launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Crew Dragon astronauts will spend six months aboard the space station’s orbiting laboratory complex as part of a science mission. It is not currently known if the crew will receive a stash of Halloween treats upon their arrival.

NASA and SpaceX originally planned the Crew-1 launch for October 23; however, it was delayed to ensure the arrival of the U.S. flight doesn’t conflict with that of the Russian Soyuz, which is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 14. The previously planned date would have also put the U.S.’s launch just two days after NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and his two cosmonaut crew mates are scheduled to return to Earth following a 6.5-month mission. Apparently, October is a busy month for space travel.

Soyuz spacecraft Expedition One lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on October 31, 2000.

Soyuz spacecraft Expedition One lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on October 31, 2000, beginning 20 years of uninterrupted human presence in space. 

Image: NASA

This new date also gives NASA a bit more time to investigate a leak on the International Space Station (the agency stresses that the leak does not pose a threat to crew members, although it’s possible the leak has been there since 2019). Plus, it puts a bow on an already momentous age in space travel. Halloween, after all, marks the 20th anniversary of the first ISS crew launch. The astronauts’ arrival on November 2, 2000, marked the start of two uninterrupted decades of astronauts' presence in space.

In a fitting tribute to the two decades of camaraderie in space and to the pandemic-filled era this historic launch is taking place in, the Crew-1 astronauts also announced the name of their capsule: Resilience. 

“I think all of us can agree 2020 has been a challenging year,” Commander Mike Hopkins said following the surprise reveal during a September 29 press conference. “Despite all of that, SpaceX, NASA has finished this amazing vehicle that is getting ready to go on its maiden flight. We hope that it provides something positive in your lives, and we hope that it’s an inspiration—that it shows when you work together, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.”

SpaceX’s Crew-1 is set to launch at 1:40 a.m. CT on Oct 31. NASA will livestream the launch.