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NASA's Crew-2 Astronauts
Launching April 23
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LiveStream will start at 2am ET
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Meet The Astronauts
A decorated Army aviator and former space shuttle astronaut will serve as commander of NASA and SpaceX's Crew-2 mission flying to the International Space Station.
Fifty-three-year-old Shane Kimbrough will take command of Crew Dragon for his third trip to space.
Kimbrough was commissioned into the Army as an aviator after studying engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Over the course of his military career, he served in Operation Desert Storm, led Apache attack helicopter teams, and later became a professor at West Point.
Though he joined NASA in 2000, it wasn't until four years later that Kimbrough was selected as an astronaut candidate. His first trip to orbit was STS-126, a 2008 shuttle Endeavour mission tasked with ISS assembly. Over the course of 16 days, he logged nearly 13 hours in spacewalks.
Kimbrough built upon those 16 days in 2016 with a second launch, this time to a completed ISS ready for his arrival. He commanded the ISS for nearly six months and performed four more spacewalks, upping his elapsed time "outside" to 39 hours.
Kimbrough's official NASA biography notes that he enjoys time with his wife and three children, baseball, golf, weightlifting, and running.
Megan McArthur, an engineer, oceanographer, and former shuttle mission specialist will serve as pilot of SpaceX's Crew-2 mission.
The 43-year-old, who considers California as her home state, studied aerospace engineering and oceanography before her selection as a NASA astronaut in 2000.
Thursday's Crew-2 launch from pad 39A will akin to a homecoming for McArthur, who launched on STS-125 from the same pad in 2009. Over the course of 12 days, she helped oversee NASA's last mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope by using the shuttle's robotic arm to carefully retrieve the 43-foot observatory.
Since her return to Earth, McArthur has continued her work at NASA, according to her official agency biography. Not only was she the astronaut office lead for vehicles during the first commercial cargo missions to the ISS, but she also went on to serve as the deputy chief of the office itself.
In her spare time, she enjoys SCUBA diving, backpacking, and cooking. And she comes from a family of astronauts, too – her husband, Bob Behnken, flew on SpaceX's first crewed mission to the ISS in May 2020. She will fly in the same capsule he did.
Veteran astronaut Akihiko Hoshide will serve as a mission specialist for NASA and SpaceX's Crew-2 launch to the International Space Station, representing his home country's Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency during the six-month trip.
Hoshide, whose first name is commonly shortened to Aki, will make his third trip to space.
Born in Tokyo, the 52-year-old studied engineering before his selection as an astronaut in 1999. By 2008, he was flying on shuttle Discovery's STS-124 mission, which took the largest ISS module to orbit during the station's construction phase: the Japanese Experiment Module, commonly referred to as "Kibo."
In 2012, he spent more than two months on the ISS as an expedition flight engineer. He conducted experiments in the Kibo module, performed three spacewalks, and even helped capture SpaceX's first operational Dragon capsule using the station's robotic arm in October of that year.
When the shift in ISS expeditions – from 65 to 66 – is completed on April 27, Hoshide will take command of the station from NASA astronaut Shannon Walker. It will make him the second Japanese astronaut to ever do so, according to his official JAXA biography.
French engineer, pilot, and astronaut Thomas Pesquet will join three others for NASA and SpaceX's Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station, serving as a mission specialist and representative of the European Space Agency.
Pesquet, according to ESA, was born in Rouen, France, and in 2016 became the country's 10th astronaut when he launched to the ISS from Kazakhstan aboard a Russian-made Soyuz rocket. Over the course of his six-and-a-half-month stay, he tracked and captured two different capsules using the station's robotic arm, helped conduct two successful maintenance spacewalks, and was involved in more than 50 science experiments.
Since his touchdown back on Earth in 2017, Pesquet has kept up with his astronaut training and flies an Airbus A310 Zero-G, used by the agency to simulate weightlessness through parabolic flights. Since the announcement of his selection as a Crew Dragon astronaut last year, Pesquet has trained with the spacecraft for Crew-2, which will take him on another six-month ISS stay packed with science experiments, maintenance, rotating vehicles, and more.
Pesquet will become the first European astronaut to fly in Crew Dragon, which is currently the only U.S. spacecraft certified to take crews to the orbiting outpost.
In his official ESA profile, the agency noted that Pesquet enjoys physically intensive activities ranging from judo to mountain biking. He's also an avid reader and saxophonist.