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SpaceX’s next crew arrives in Florida for Earth Day launch

SpaceX Crew 2 astronauts, from left, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide greet members of the media after they arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Friday, April 16, 2021. The launch to the International Space Station is targeted for April 22. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX’s most international crew of astronauts yet has arrived at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

The two Americans, one French and one Japanese are scheduled to blast off for the International Space Station next Thursday, which is Earth Day.

Officials said Friday that’s a coincidence and a reminder of NASA’s core mission of studying the home planet.

This will be SpaceX’s third launch of astronauts in less than a year, but the first to use a recycled Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule.

Spacecraft commander Shane Kimbrough says until SpaceX gets several years of astronaut operations under its belt, all of these should be considered test flights.

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