KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Four astronauts from three countries arrived at Kennedy Space Center Friday ahead of their launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket less than a week away.
NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, flew aboard a Gulfstream jet from NASA’s Johnson Space Center to Florida arriving at 12:45 p.m. They landed on the Launch and Landing Facility, known as the old space shuttle runway, in Merritt Island.
The astronauts were greeted by Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, as well as other representative from NASA, ESA and JAXA.
It was Pesquet’s first trip to KSC.
“I’m excited to be here at KSC because I haven’t been here before I’ve been an astronaut for more than 10 years,” he said.
Until last year, NASA relied on the Russian Space Agency to launch American astronauts.
“We’re living in the golden age of human space flight,” Pesquet said. “There’s never been that many ways to go to space.”
All four Crew-2 astronauts have previous spaceflight experience. This will mark the first for McArthur in more than 10 years and her first long-duration spaceflight.