The fifth manned mission POT to the International Space Station (ISS) in ships of the private company SpaceX, the Crew-5, arrived at the space laboratory this Thursday a few minutes late, where it successfully docked after a journey of around 30 hours, as could be verified in a live broadcast.
The Endurance spacecraft, which was propelled by a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carried two NASA astronauts on board, mission commander Nicole Aunapu Mann and pilot Josh Cassada; along with astronaut Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, who will serve as mission specialists. After a maneuver in the slow docking port, the spacecraft docked with the ISS at 5:01 p.m. Eastern Time (9:01 p.m. GMT) without major difficulties. It was scheduled to make port in the giant orbiting laboratory at 4:57 p.m. (20:57 GMT), so there were a few minutes of delay.
“Astronauts #Crew5 arrived at the space station at 5:01 pm ET. The @SpaceX Dragon Endurance docked with the complex in orbit as the spacecraft flew approximately 258 miles (366 km) above the west coast of Africa,” he immediately retweeted NASA taking the original tweet from the International Space Station.
After docking and after depressurization, the Expedition 68 crew installed on the ISS will receive the members of Crew-5 inside the station tonight and will offer them a welcome ceremony. The new “tenants” of the space laboratory will be received by the four crew members of the Dragon Freedom capsule, Crew-4, who traveled to the ISS last April. They are the NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines and Jessica Watkins and the European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, of Italian nationality. These astronauts from the Crew-4 mission will undock from the ISS and land off the coast of Florida (USA) later this month, NASA said in the mission blog.
During their time in that lab, the crew of Crew-5 will conduct more than 200 scientific experiments and technological tests in areas such as health, including research on heart disease, and lunar fuel systems, NASA said.
Crew-5 is the eighth manned mission carried out by SpaceX since the beginning of its operations, and also the first commanded by a woman, Mann, who in turn makes her 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 traveled in the capsule, who thus becomes the first cosmonaut of the Russian space agency Roscosmos to board a SpaceX ship. Crew-5 marks the first spaceflight for Mann, Cassada and Kikina, and the fifth for Wakata. This is SpaceX’s sixth flight with NASA astronauts, including the 2020 Demo-2 test flight to the space station, as part of the agency’s commercial crew program.
With the arrival of this Thursday at the ISS, SpaceX, the private company of tycoon Elon Musk has managed to carry 30 people into space, an “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.
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