SpaceX Launches Crew-6 for Historic 34th Mission to ISS
SpaceX launched its Crew-6 mission for NASA early Thursday morning (March 2), sending a complement of four astronauts on their way to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) in a little over 24 hours. The mission marks the 34th time SpaceX has launched astronauts, both for government and private missions, since its first crewed launch in May 2020.
The Crew-6 team is composed of NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen, a veteran of three space shuttle missions, and first-time flyer Warren “Woody” Hoburg, as well as Sultan Alneyadi, the second astronaut from the United Arab Emirates to travel to space, and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.
Once the Crew Dragon, the vehicle with the astronauts on board, had achieved orbit, it detached from the rocket. It is projected to take about one day of navigating through space before docking with the space station. The capsule is scheduled to arrive at 1:17 a.m. Friday evening
The mission is taking place as the astronauts residing on the space station have been dealing with a different transportation problem. In December, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that had been used to transport cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio to the space station sprung a coolant leak. After the capsule was deemed unsafe to return the astronauts, Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, launched a replacement vehicle on February 23.
Bowen's team will have a hectic mission aiding in the execution of over 200 scientific and technical demonstration experiments on the space station. In June, a SpaceX cargo capsule will deliver a new set of upgraded solar arrays, and some of the Crew-6 astronauts will conduct spacewalks to install them outside the space station. During their stint in space, the Crew-6 astronauts will oversee more than 200 science and tech projects, including researching how some substances burn in the microgravity environment and investigating microbial samples that will be collected from the exterior of the space station.
The Crew-6 astronauts met up with current ISS occupants, the Expedition 68 crew of NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, as well as Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin and Anna Kikina.
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