Two more astronauts join SpaceX's first crewed mission to the ISS

A total of four astronauts will travel aboard the Crew Dragon later this year.

Two more astronauts have been assigned to the first operational crewed flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and Noguchi Soichi, of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will join NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover Jr., who were assigned to the mission in 2018. If all goes according to plan, this will be the first in a series of regular Crew Dragon flights to the ISS, NASA said in a press release.

Glover, Hopkins, Noguchi and Walker are expected to launch aboard a Crew Dragon on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center later this year. They'll then spend six months at the ISS.

First, though, the Crew Dragon's Demo-2 test, scheduled for May, will have to be a success. That flight will launch humans (NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley) to space from US soil for the first time since July 8th, 2011. It's also the last test SpaceX needs to pass before Crew Dragon is certified to conduct operational crew flights to and from the ISS.

SpaceX has successfully completed Crew Dragon engine tests and launch escape tests. It has had a few mishaps, but it appears to have overcome those. And it looks like the coronavirus pandemic, won't delay the Demo-2 test or first operational crewed mission to ISS.