Welcome to Episode 1 of Season 2! In this episode we discuss NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission, the upcoming second rotational flight to the ISS which is currently scheduled to launch in late April 2021. We feature an interview with ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, and also discuss ESA’s quest to find new astronauts and open up space to people with disabilities.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet will be the first European to fly on board a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Thomas will be a mission specialist for NASA’s Crew-2 mission, which is currently scheduled to launch no earlier than April 22, 2021. For this second full-rotation mission, Thomas will join 3 other crew members: NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, plus JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

Topics in this episode include:

ESA Parastronaut feasibility Project

In a first for ESA and human spaceflight worldwide, ESA is looking for individual(s) who are psychologically, cognitively, technically and professionally qualified to be an astronaut, but have a physical disability that would normally prevent them from being selected due to the requirements imposed by the use of current space hardware. For more information visit https://www.esa.int/About_Us/Careers_at_ESA/ESA_Astronaut_Selection/Parastronaut_feasibility_project

ESA Call for Astronauts

This is an exciting and also a rare occasion as, before this, ESA has issued a call for astronauts only three times since 1978 – the most recent being in 2008. ESA plans to recruit 4-6 new astronauts through its 2021-22 selection process to support the future of European space exploration. This campaign will select astronauts as career astronauts (the astronaut corps) or into the newly created reserve pool of astronauts. For more information visit https://www.esa.int/About_Us/Careers_at_ESA/ESA_Astronaut_Selection/Astronaut_selection_2021-22_FAQs

NASA SpaceX Crew-2 Mission

NASA and its international partners have assigned crew members for Crew-2, which will be the second operational SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, for the mission. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will join as mission specialists.

Crew-2 is targeted to launch in spring 2021. The Crew-2 astronauts will remain aboard the space station for approximately six months as expedition crew members, along with three crewmates who will launch via a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The increase of the full space station crew complement to seven members – over the previous six – will allow NASA to effectively double the amount of science that can be conducted in space. For more information visit https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

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