Minnesota native part of SpaceX Crew-5 mission to International Space Station

Minnesota native part of SpaceX Crew-5 mission to International Space Station

A pair of news conferences on Thursday, Aug. 4, at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will highlight the agency's SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. The mission is NASA's fifth crew rotation flight involving a U.S. commercial spacecraft carrying crew for a science expedition aboard the microgravity laboratory.

The agency will host a mission overview news conference at 12:30 p.m. EDT and a crew news conference at 2 p.m. Both will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency's website. The crew also will be available for individual interviews after 3 p.m.

The Crew-5 mission will carry NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada as well as JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. The Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon Endurance spacecraft is scheduled to launch no earlier than Sept. 29 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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This will be Mann's first spaceflight since becoming an astronaut in 2013. As mission commander, she will be responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry. She will serve as an Expedition 68 flight engineer aboard the station. She uses the name @AstroDuke on Twitter.

Mann was born in Petaluma, California, and is Native American. She earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master's degree in mechanical engineering with a specialty in fluid mechanics from Stanford University. She is a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a test pilot in the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet.

The mission will be Cassada's first flight since his selection as an astronaut in 2013 as well. As pilot, he will be responsible for spacecraft systems and performance. Aboard the station, he will serve as an Expedition 68 flight engineer.

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Cassada grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, and is a physicist and U.S. Navy test pilot. Prior to becoming a naval aviator, Cassada earned a bachelor's degree in physics at Albion College in Albion, Michigan, and a doctorate at the University of Rochester, New York, conducting experimental high energy physics research at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. Follow @astro_josh on Twitter.

Wakata will be making his fifth trip to space on his third different spacecraft, and as a mission specialist he will work closely with the commander and pilot to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. Once aboard the station, he will become a flight engineer for Expedition 68. Follow @Astro_Wakata on Twitter.

Kikina will be making her first trip to space, and will also serve as a mission specialist, working to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. She will be a flight engineer for Expedition 68.

Learn more about how NASA innovates for the benefit of humanity through NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

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