SpaceX will take NASA satellite to space to monitor climate change 0:49
SpaceX and NASA prepare to launch a new crew to the International Space Station (ISS), continuing the public-private effort to keep the orbiting lab fully staffed and return astronaut launches to US soil. .
This mission will include crew members from around the world: two NASA astronauts, one Russian cosmonaut and one United Arab Emirates astronaut.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule are expected to lift off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 1:45 a.m. Miami time this Monday.
Crew Dragon, the vehicle that carries the astronauts, will detach from the rocket after launch and spend about a day maneuvering in orbit before linking up with the ISS.
The capsule is scheduled to dock with the space station at 2:38 am ET on Tuesday.
This mission will mark the seventh astronaut flight that SpaceX has conducted on behalf of NASA since 2020.
The Crew-6 team on board will include NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen, a veteran of three space shuttle missions, and first-time flight Warren Hoburg, as well as Sultan Alneyadi, who will be the United Arab Emirates' second astronaut. in traveling to space, and the Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.
Once Bowen, Hoburg, Fedyaev and Alneyadi are aboard the ISS, they will work to take over operations for the SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts who arrived on the space station in October 2022.
Video: SpaceX's crewed capsule connects to the ISS 0:47
They are expected to spend up to six months aboard the orbiting laboratory, conducting scientific experiments and maintaining the station, which is two decades old.
The mission comes as the crew 5 astronauts currently on the ISS have dealt with another transportation issue.
In December, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that had been used to transport two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut to the space station suffered a coolant leak.
After the capsule was deemed unsafe to carry astronauts, the Russian space agency Roscosmos launched a replacement vehicle on February 23.
It arrived on the ISS this Saturday.
work with the russians
Russian cosmonaut Fedyaev joined the Crew-6 team as part of a ride-sharing agreement signed last year between NASA and Roscosmos.
The agreement is intended to ensure continued access to the ISS for both Roscosmos and NASA: in the event that the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule or the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, used to transport people to the ISS, experience difficulties and are taken out of service. , the other will be in charge of putting the astronauts of both countries into orbit.
This will be Fedyaev's first mission into space.
Despite ongoing geopolitical tensions sparked by the invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Russia remains the United States' main partner on the ISS.
NASA has repeatedly said that the conflict has had no impact on cooperation between the countries' space agencies.
"Space cooperation has a long history and we are setting an example of how life on Earth should be done," Fedyaev told a news conference on January 24.
SpaceX Crew-6 astronauts pause for a photo after arriving at the Kennedy Space Center Launch and Landing Facility in Florida on February 21, 2023. From left to right: Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, Roscosmos astronaut United Arab Emirates Sultan Alneyadi and NASA astronauts Warren "Woody" Hoburg and Stephen Bowen.
(Credit: Kim Shiflett/NASA)
Bowen, the 59-year-old NASA astronaut who will command the Crew-6 mission, also weighed in.
"I've been working and training with cosmonauts for over 20 years, and it's always been amazing," he said during the briefing.
"Once you get to space it's just one crew, one vehicle, and we all have the same goal."
Bowen grew up in Cohasset, Massachusetts and studied engineering, earning a BS in Electrical Engineering from the US Naval Academy in 1986 and an MS in Ocean Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in 1993.
He also completed military submarine training and served in the Navy before being selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2000, becoming the first submarine officer chosen by the space agency.
He previously completed three missions between 2008 and 2011, during NASA's Space Shuttle Program, logging a total of more than 47 days in space.
"'I just hope my body retains the memory of 12 years ago so I can enjoy it,'" Bowen said of the Crew-6 release.
Meet the rest of the Crew-6 team
Piloting this mission, Hoburg is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, before becoming an Adjunct Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT.
He joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2017.
"We're going to live six months in space. I think back to six months and I'm like, 'Okay, that's a long time,'" Hoburg told reporters about his expectations for the trip.
However, Hoburg added: "I'm looking forward to my first look through the dome," referring to the well-known area of the ISS that features a large window offering panoramic views of Earth.
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Alneyadi, who in 2019 supported Hazza Al Mansouri, the first UAE astronaut to go into orbit, will now become the first Emirati astronaut to complete a long-term stay in space.
At a news conference in January, Alneyadi said he planned to bring food from the Middle East to share with his crewmates while in space.
A jiu-jitsu practitioner, she will also wear a kimono, the traditional uniform of this martial art.
"It's hard to believe that this is really happening," Alneyadi told a news conference after arriving at the Kennedy Space Center on February 21.
"I can't ask for more from a team. I think we are prepared: physically, mentally and technically."
What will they do in space?
During their time in space, Crew-6 astronauts will oversee more than 200 science-oriented projects, including investigating how substances burn in the microgravity environment and investigating microbial samples that will be collected from outside the spacecraft. ERA.
They will host two other key missions that will call at the ISS during their stay.
The first is the Boeing crew flight test, which will mark the first astronaut mission under a Boeing-NASA partnership.
The flight, scheduled for April, will carry NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Sunita Williams to the space station, and will mark the last phase of a program of tests and demonstrations that Boeing must carry out to certify its Starliner spacecraft for routine missions. of astronauts.
ISS astronauts perform their spacewalk after removing space debris
Then, in May, a group of four astronauts will arrive on a mission called AX-2, a privately funded space station tourism mission.
That mission, to be carried out in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, will include former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, now a private astronaut with the Texas-based space tourism company Axiom, which negotiated and organized the mission.
It will also include three paying clients, similar to the AX-1 mission that visited the ISS last year.
Both Boeing's CFT mission and the AX-2 will be major milestones, Bowen stated in January.
"It's another paradigm shift," he said.
"Those two events, big events, in spaceflight that occur during our surge, plus all the other work we have to do, I don't think we'll be able to fully digest it until after the fact."
International Space StationNASASpaceX