The four Crew-5 astronauts travel to the International Space Station accompanied by 'Einstein'

The fifth NASA’s manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS) It left this Wednesday from Florida and has already reached the planned orbit to dock this Thursday, as confirmed by the US space agency. The trip is carried out on ships from the private company SpaceX.

Powered by a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, the Endurance spacecraft carries two NASA astronauts – mission commander Nicole Aunapu Mann and pilot Josh Cassada – a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut ( JAXA) -Koichi Wakata-, and the Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina, from Roscosmos. With them travels a small doll with the image of Albert Einstein, which floats as a zero-gravity indicator for the crew to honor the German physicist’s “happiest thought.” He is considered the most important and popular scientist of the 20th century and the first to maintain that gravity is intimately linked to space and time.

According to NASA, the doll is used “to show when the capsule reaches microgravity weightlessness while circling the globe” en route to the ISS. “We are continually experiencing Einstein’s happiest thought, like the International Space Station has been doing for over 20 years,” pilot Cassada said during the livestream. “At Crew-5 we call this little guy our free fall indicator. We’re here to tell you that there’s a lot of gravity up here, in fact, that’s what’s keeping us in orbit right now,” he noted.

After takeoff, which took place successfully at the edge of noon and with a fairly clear sky, NASA welcomed via Twitter when seeing how the rocket with the attached Dragon Endurance ship took height. “We are on our way to space!” the federal agency stressed, while pointing out that this mission will allow several scientific experiments to be carried out for six months.

Path to space in different languages

Within 12 minutes of liftoff, SpaceX confirmed that the spacecraft separated from the Falcon 9 second stage. The private company led by tycoon Elon Musk has built both the Dragon ship and the booster rocket.

The crew of Crew-5 thanked their teams on the ground in their respective languages ​​for the smooth launch into space. The spacecraft will dock with the ISS this Thursday at approximately 4:57 p.m. Eastern Time (10:00 p.m. Spanish Peninsular Time), after about 35 hours of flight.

During their time in that lab, the crew will conduct more than two hundred scientific experiments and technological tests in areas such as health, including research on heart disease, and lunar fuel systems, NASA said.

This is the eighth manned mission carried out by SpaceX since the beginning of its operations, and also the first commanded by a woman, who in turn makes his first space trip. The commander is the first Native American woman to travel to space and she belongs to the Wailacki-Round Valley Indian tribe of Northern California. Likewise, Kikina travels inside the capsule, who becomes the first cosmonaut from the Russian space agency Roscosmos to board a SpaceX ship.

The supercomputer makes it possible to see how new behaviors emerge.


Shortly before takeoff, Crew-5 encountered several mishaps deemed “minor” by the scientists in charge. However, both NASA and Spacex decided to go ahead and solve those problems in record time.

With the release this Wednesday, SpaceX has managed to take thirty people into spacean “important milestone” for the company’s human spaceflight program, said Sarah Walker, director of Dragon mission management.

SpaceX has been sending astronauts to the International Space Station and returning them to Earth in collaboration with NASA since 2020. The company’s ongoing astronaut missions with NASA are Crew-5 and Crew-4, currently in the ISS, according to the specialized media

For his part, cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, supervisor of the Russian agency Roscosmos, described the launch as the beginning of a “new phase” of international cooperation going back to the Apollo-Soyuz project of 1975. “We’re just continuing what started many years ago in 1975, when the Apollo-Soyuz crew flew and traveled together,” he said.

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