NASA’s fifth manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on ships from the private company SpaceX, the Crew-5, arrived at the space laboratory on Thursday a few minutes late, where successfully docked after a journey of around 30 hours, as seen 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, the mission commander Nicole Aunapu Mann and the pilot Josh Cassada; along with the astronaut Koichi Wakata, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the Russian cosmonaut anna kikinafrom Roscosmos, who will serve as mission specialists.
After a slow maneuver At the docking port, the ship docked with the ISS at 5:01 p.m. Eastern Time (11:01 p.m. Spanish peninsular time) without major difficulties. She was scheduled to make port at the giant orbiting laboratory at 4:57 p.m. (20:57 GMT), so there was few minutes late.
“Astronauts #Crew5 arrived at the space station at 5:01 pm ET. The @EspaceX Dragon Endurance docked with the complex in orbit as the spacecraft flew at approximately 258 miles (366 km) on the west coast of Africa,” NASA immediately retweeted taking the original tweet from the International Space Station.
After docking and depressurization, the members of Crew-5 were greeted inside the station with a welcoming ceremony by the seven members of the Expedition 68 crew installed on the ISS, including the four crew members of the Dragon Freedom capsule, Crew-4, who traveled to the space station last April.
For a short period of time, approximately one week according to NASA calculations, the number of crew members on the ISS will be 11 people, until the Crew-4 mission returns to Earth.
Together with the four newcomers, the astronauts of the aforementioned Crew-4 are now on the ship —Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines Y Jessica Watkin, of NASA, and the Italian Samantha Cristoforetti, of the European Space Agency (ESA)—, the astronaut also of NASA Frank Rubio, and Russian cosmonauts from Roscosmos Sergey Prokopyev Y Dmitry Petelin.
The Crew-4 mission astronauts will undock from the ISS and land off the coast of Florida at the end of this month, NASA said on the mission blog.
During their time in that lab, the crew of Crew-5 will conduct over 200 experiments scientific and technological tests in areas such as health, including research on heart disease, and lunar fuel systems, NASA said.
First woman in charge
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 carries out his first space trip.
The commander is first native american woman in space travel and belongs to the Wailacki-Round Valley Indian Tribe of Northern California.
Likewise, Kikina traveled in the capsule, who thus becomes the first female cosmonaut of the Russian space agency Roscosmos boarding a SpaceX ship.
The Crew-5 marks the first space flight 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 at the ISS, SpaceX, the private company of tycoon Elon Musk, has managed to carry 30 people into space, a “major milestone” for the company’s human spaceflight program, said Sarah Walker, director of Dragon mission management.
SpaceX has sent astronauts to the International Space Station and returned them to Earth in collaboration with NASA since 2020.
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