SpaceX launches next crew to ISS

The Designated Crew 6 consists of two US astronauts, one from the UAE and one Russian cosmonaut. A previous launch attempt was called off due to a clogged filter.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched NASA’s next long-duration crew for the International Space Station into orbit on Thursday. A previous attempt was postponed due to a clogged filter in the launch system.

The issue was fixed by replacing the filter and purging the system.

The launch vehicle consists of a Falcon 9 rocket, with an automatically operated Crew Dragon capsule.

It lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 12:34 EST (0534 GMT) and is expected to take around 25 hours to reach the ISS.

Two NASA astronauts, one Russian cosmonaut, and another astronaut from the United Arab Emirates will embark on a six-month mission in the vehicle. They will perform several experiments on their mission, such as human cell growth in space and controlling combustible materials in microgravity.

Who are the crew members?

The Designated Crew 6 will be the sixth long-term NASA team flown by SpaceX since May 2020, when it sent the first mission.

The current crew consists of mission commander Stephen Bowen, 59, a former US Navy submarine officer. He has been in orbit for more than 40 days, with three space shuttle flights and seven spacewalks.

The pilot is engineer Warren “Woody” Hoburg, 37, an engineer and commercial aviator. This will be his maiden space flight.

UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, 41, is the first person from his country to fly to space and launch from US soil as part of a long-term mission.

The fourth member of the crew is Russian cosmonaut and mission specialist Andrey Fedyaev, 42, who is also an engineer. This will be his first space flight as well.

The Crew 6 team will be welcomed aboard the space station by the current seven ISS occupants. This includes three US NASA crew members, including commander Nicole Aunapu Mann, the first Native American woman to fly to space, and also three Russians and a Japanese astronaut.

The ISS is the largest human-made object in space and the size of a football field. It has been operated for more than two decades by a consortium led by the US and Russia, including Canada, Japan, and 11 European nations.

tg/sms (dpa, Reuters)

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