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SpaceX, NASA targeting Halloween for Crew 1 launch

The original target date was Oct. 23, but is now 2:40 a.m. EDT Oct. 31 from Kennedy Space Center.
Credit: NASA/SpaceX

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX and NASA are now targeting early Halloween morning for the launch of Crew 1, carrying four astronauts from NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The 2:40 a.m. EDT Oct. 31 launch will be the first operational use of the Dragon spacecraft following the historic May Demo-2 launch of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. And, it'll be the first time an international crew member will fly on a commercial spacecraft from U.S. soil.

NASA will have its first media briefings ahead of the Crew 1 launch starting at 11 a.m. EDT Sept. 29. The 2 p.m. EDT briefing will include a Q&A with the astronauts.

You can watch all of those here.

NASA and SpaceX originally sought Oct. 23 for the Crew 1 mission, but that date comes just nine days after two cosmonauts and astronaut Kate Rubins fly to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz. And, it would be just two days after NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and two cosmonauts on the ISS now head back to earth on another Soyuz.

"This additional time is needed to ensure closure of all open work, both on the ground and aboard the station, ahead of the Crew 1 arrival," NASA said.

The new date gives NASA, SpaceX, Roscosmos and JAXA some breathing room to ensure smooth launches and landings for all the space travelers involved.

The Crew 1 mission includes astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA. 

The four will travel to the station in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, launching atop a Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

When the crew arrives at the ISS, they'll live and work on the orbiting laboratory for a six-month science mission.

RELATED: NASA astronaut plans to cast her ballot from International Space Station

October is gearing up to be a busy month for space travel. Here are tentative launch and landing dates to look out for:

Oct. 14

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos will launch to the ISS aboard the Soyuz MS-17 capsule from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Oct. 21

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner are set to return to earth aboard their Soyuz spacecraft. They will land in Kazakhstan.

Oct. 31

Three NASA astronauts and a JAXA astronaut will launch to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in the Crew 1 mission. 

You can also find the latest on NASA launches and landings here.

RELATED: 5 rocket launches to watch in the next week in the US

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