Observing the Launch of Huginn

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen is preparing for his second mission to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of Crew-7. The launch, known as Huginn, is scheduled for August 25th at 08:49 BST and will be live-streamed on ESA WebTV 2. This mission is particularly significant as it marks the first time a European astronaut will serve as a pilot on the SpaceX Crew Dragon.

Andreas Mogensen will be joined by NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos astronaut Konstantin Borisov on this historic journey. Liftoff will take place from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, with the crew aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft propelled by a Falcon 9 rocket.

During the flight to the ISS, Andreas will assume the role of pilot, responsible for monitoring the spacecraft’s performance and ensuring that all systems are functioning correctly. This position of trust bestowed upon him by international partners is a testament to ESA’s reputation and Andreas’s expertise. Reflecting on this opportunity, Andreas expressed his gratitude and stated, “It is an honor to be the pilot of Crew Dragon, with our international partners showing their trust in ESA and my work.”

Before embarking on their space journey, the astronauts must undergo a period of quarantine to prevent any unwanted bacteria or viruses from reaching the ISS. Approximately three hours before liftoff, around 05:30 BST, the crew will board the Endurance spacecraft. Prior to their departure, they will engage in various traditions, including playing a card game with the head of NASA’s Astronaut Office until they emerge victorious. Additionally, each astronaut will sign their name on the wall of the final room before entering the Dragon capsule.

The launch itself is a remarkable spectacle. Just two and a half minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9 first-stage booster will detach from the rocket and land back on Earth. The second stage will continue to propel the crew towards orbit, and approximately nine minutes after liftoff, they will achieve orbit. At this point, a zero-g indicator will float within the spacecraft, signaling to the crew that they have entered a state of weightlessness. The journey to the ISS will take approximately 24 hours, after which the crew will dock and officially begin their mission.

To witness this momentous launch, viewers can tune into ESA’s WebTV 2 on the morning of August 25th. Following the launch, Andreas’s mission can be followed on the Huginn page and his social media channels. The detailed launch schedule provides a glimpse into the various events leading up to liftoff, including the astronauts’ walks to the cars, arrival at the launch pad, and their entrance into the Crew Dragon Endurance.

As humanity continues to explore outer space, missions like Huginn serve as a testament to international collaboration and the advancements in space exploration technology. ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen’s role as the first European pilot on the Crew Dragon is a significant milestone in European space history. This mission not only showcases Europe’s capabilities but also highlights the trust and confidence placed in ESA and its astronauts by international partners. The launch of Crew-7 to the ISS represents another step forward in our collective journey towards understanding and exploring the vast expanse of space.