HomeWorldRussian astronauts ride with SpaceX as part of the next space station...

Russian astronauts ride with SpaceX as part of the next space station crew

The latest team is led by Nicole Aunapu Mann, 45, a veteran fighter pilot who is making spaceflight history as the first indigenous woman sent into orbit by NASA and the first woman to take the commander’s seat of a SpaceX Crew Dragon. Both are.

The latest team is led by Nicole Aunapu Mann, 45, a veteran fighter pilot who is making spaceflight history as the first indigenous woman sent into orbit by NASA and the first woman to take the commander’s seat of a SpaceX Crew Dragon. Both are.

Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX was about to launch the next long-duration crew of the International Space Station into orbit on Wednesday, as part of a Russian cosmonaut mission with two Americans and a Japanese cosmonaut aboard .

The SpaceX launch vehicle, consisting of a Falcon 9 rocket topped with a Crew Dragon capsule dubbed Endurance, was set for liftoff at noon EDT (1600 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The four-member crew should reach the International Space Station (ISS) about 29 hours later on Thursday evening to begin a 150-day science mission to the orbiting laboratory about 250 miles (420 km) above Earth.

The mission, designated Crew-5, marks the fifth full ISS crew NASA has flown on a SpaceX vehicle since the private rocket venture founded by Tesla-owner Musk began sending American astronauts aloft in May 2020.

“Everything is looking good for the weather at this point,” SpaceX commentator Kate Tice said during a live NASA webcast of pre-flight activities about three hours before launch time.

The astronauts, wearing their helmeted white and black spacesuits, left the space center’s operations building to wave to their well-wishers and say goodbye to their loved ones before heading to the launch pad a few miles away.

The latest team is led by Nicole Aunapu Mann, 45, a veteran fighter pilot who is making spaceflight history as the first indigenous woman sent into orbit by NASA and the first woman to take the commander’s seat of a SpaceX Crew Dragon. Both are.

The Crew-5 mission is also notable for involving 38-year-old Anna Kikina, the lone female astronaut on active duty for the Russian space agency Roscosmos, making a rare flight on a US spacecraft despite US-Russian tensions over the war in Ukraine. Is. The last astronaut to ride a US rocketship into orbit was on a NASA spacecraft in 2002.

from Russia with Love

Kikina is essentially swapping places with a NASA astronaut who took her seat on a Russian Soyuz flight to the ISS last month under a new ride-sharing deal signed by NASA and Roscosmos in July .

Commander Mann, a US Marine Corps colonel and a fighter pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, has an engineering master’s degree specializing in fluid mechanics. He is also among the first group of 18 astronauts selected for NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions, which aim to return humans to the Moon later this decade, more than half a century after the Apollo lunar program ended.

As a registered member of the Velaki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, Mann will become the first Native American woman to fly in space. The only other indigenous American launched to orbit was John Harrington, who flew on the 2002 Shuttle mission.

The pilot named for Wednesday’s launch is Mann’s NASA astronaut classmate and fellow spacecraft rookie Josh Cassada, 49, a US Navy aviator and test pilot with a doctorate in high-energy particle physics.

Rounding out the crew of Japan’s space agency JAXA is veteran astronaut Koichi Wakata, 59, a robotics expert, making his fifth voyage into space.

The Crew-5 team will be welcomed by the seven current ISS occupants – the Crew-4 team that includes three Americans and an Italian astronaut – as well as two Russian and NASA astronauts who accompanied them into orbit on the Soyuz flight.

The new arrivals are tasked with conducting more than 200 experiments, many of them focused on medical research ranging from 3-D “bio-printing” of human tissue to the study of bacteria cultured in microgravity.

The ISS, the length of a football field and the largest artificial object in space, has been continuously occupied since November 2000, operated by a US-Russian-led consortium that includes Canada, Japan and 11 European countries.

The outpost was born to improve relations between Washington and Moscow following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War rivalry that fueled the original US-Soviet space race. The NASA-Roscosmos collaboration has never been tested before since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, prompting the United States to impose sweeping sanctions against Moscow.

During a news briefing with NASA and SpaceX on Monday, a high-ranking Roscosmos official, Sergei Krikalev, said his agency has Moscow’s approval to continue with the ISS until 2024 and to pursue the partnership until Russia builds up. For hoping to secure the Kremlin “permission”. A new space station.

NASA expects the ISS to be operational with its current partners until about 2030.

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