SpaceX, NASA shift Crew-8 astronaut launch to March

NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, and Jeanette Epps and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin are scheduled to launch on March 1.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – An American-Russian crew of astronauts will blast off from Florida in early March, beginning a six-month mission to the International Space Station, marking the 8th flight as part of NASA's Commercial Crew program.

SpaceX and NASA are targeting March 1 at 12:04 a.m. EST to launch the Crew-8 mission to the space station. Liftoff was scheduled for a week earlier, but NASA opted to delay the launch to clear the way for the Intuitive Machines' Moon lander launch, which happened on Feb. 15. SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets will launch both human spaceflight and IM-1 Moon missions.

"The Commercial Crew Program has been following along with the IM-1 mission preparations, and we are wishing the Intuitive Machines and SpaceX teams all the best ahead of this extremely complex mission to the lunar surface," NASA's Commercial Crew program manager Steve Stich said in a statement.

When it happens, NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, Jeanette Epps and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin will launch in the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to the ISS. The mission will mark the 8th part of NASA's Commercial program and the ninth for NASA overall, including Crew Dragon's historic first test flight with astronauts in 2020. 


The spacecraft launching the Crew-8 mission is named Endeavour and previously launched three NASA astronaut missions and the first private astronaut mission for Axiom Space

Epps, Barratt and Grebenkin are first-time space flyers. The mission will be Barratt's third of his career. 

The visit to the low-Earth orbiting laboratory has been a long time coming for Epps.

She was assigned to a 2018 Soyuz launch to the ISS but ultimately did not launch on that mission. She was later assigned to fly on Boeing's Starliner spacecraft and then reassigned to Crew Dragon last year. Now, six years after she was first set to fly, she will launch on an American spacecraft.