NASA Adds Astronaut to October Commercial Crew Mission

NASA has assigned another astronaut for its first operational crewed flight aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft targeted to launch in early October on a mission to the International Space Station.

Kayla Barron, who will serve as a mission specialist, will be joining the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission together with NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer.

The mission would be the third on SpaceX’s human space transportation system and the fourth crewed flight towards the ISS through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. They will be relieving Crew-2 astronauts who arrived at the station last April 24 aboard another Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The 2017 NASA astronaut class selected Barron who is a bachelor’s degree graduate in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 2010 and a master’s degree holder in nuclear engineering from the University of Cambridge, in England. 

NASA had initially reserved the fourth seat for a Russian cosmonaut as part of a seat barter agreement but by April, the likely conclusion would be that the agreement between NASA and Roscosmos cannot be settled on time.

“We haven’t completely given up on having a cosmonaut on Crew-3, but at this point, given the schedule, it would be really, really challenging to complete all the training and get the suit fitted and done for a cosmonaut on Crew-3,” said Steve Jurczyk, NASA acting administrator, at an April 21 briefing.

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