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NASA selects astronauts for SpaceX Crew-8 mission to International Space Station

NASA has announced its eighth astronaut crew with SpaceX.

The Crew-8 astronauts who will launch on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will include NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick (commander), Michael Barratt (pilot), and Jeanette Epps (mission specialist), along with Roscosmos cosmonaut and mission specialist Alexander Grebenkin.

The quartet will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) in early 2024, NASA officials stated on Aug. 4. A previous NASA statement put the launch date no earlier than Feb. 2024. They will be the relief crew for Crew-7, which will send another foursome to space no earlier than Aug. 25.

Related: SpaceX launches Crew-6 astronaut mission to space station for NASA

Three of the Crew-8 astronauts are on their first mission, while this will be Barratt’s third trip following flights in 2009 (ISS Expeditions 19-20) and 2011 (the space shuttle’s STS-133). 

Crew-8 will be the eighth crewed operational mission by SpaceX, which is a commercial crew vendor that sends astronauts to the ISS on NASA’s behalf.

Epps will be the second Black woman to have a long-duration mission on the ISS, following the mission of Jessica Watkins in 2022. Epps was pulled late in the training from another ISS crew that flew in 2018, but was immediately made eligible for other assignments. 

She next worked on development of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, and was reassigned from the debut Starliner-1 crewed launch after tech delays arose

Starliner will be the second commercial crew vehicle for NASA and might be ready to fly astronauts in 2023, but a major update on the spacecraft is expected Monday (Aug. 7) and a new flight date may be announced at that time.

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