The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced late March that Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi would be the first foreigner to travel to the International Space Station on board the Crew Dragon version of the Dragon 2 spaceship.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to send its new Crew Dragon spacecraft on the first manned mission to the International Space Station around 27 May, media said Friday.
The test flight will see the craft carry US astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken into orbit, followed by a regular flight with a crew of four in mid- to late summer, the Spaceflighnow news website said.
NASA hopes to end its reliance on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft for crew transport after retiring the Space Shuttle program in 2011. The US space agency currently has one seat aboard Soyuz under contract with Russia and is negotiating another one aboard an October flight.
ISS rules require at least one Russian and one US crew members to stay aboard the orbital outpost at all times to operate their respective systems. Russia’s Oleg Skripochka and US’s Jessica Meir and Drew Morgan returned from the mission earlier on Friday, leaving Anatoly Ivanishin, Ivan Vagner and Chris Cassidy behind.