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Tue, Aug 29, 2023

SpaceX Crew-7 Mission Docks Safely at ISS

Seventh Heaven

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission blasted spaceward from Launch Complex 39A of Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 03:27 EDT on the morning of Saturday, 26 August 2023.

Bound for the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Endurance were mission commander and NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, pilot and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, and mission specialists Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov.

The quartet’s journey to the space station spanned nearly thirty-hours and culminated in a nominal docking to the ISS’s space-facing, U.S.-built Harmony module at 09:16 EDT on the morning of Sunday, 27 August. At the moment of docking, Endurance and the ISS were soaring some 227-nautical-miles above Australia. The airlock between Endurance and the ISS opened at 10:58 EDT.

Following the successful docking maneuver, Crew-7 mission commander Jasmin Moghbeli radioed SpaceX mission control, declaring: "Thank you so much. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a dream."

Moghbeli and her Crew-7 contemporaries are slated to spend the next six-months aboard the orbital outpost.

In a radio transmission of his own, Crew-7 pilot Andreas Mogensen advised SpaceX mission controllers: "This is the first step of the journey, the real mission begins now. Aboard the International Space Station, we have a lot of work ahead of us that we look forward to."

The Crew-7 astronauts joined the seven spacefarers already aboard the station for a brief welcome ceremony marking the commencement of the newcomers’ tenures aboard the orbital platform.

The Crew-7 mission is the seventh operational commercial crew flight conducted by SpaceX at NASA’s behest, and the company’s eighth overall for the U.S. space agency. All told, Crew-7 is SpaceX’s 11th crewed mission.

Founded in 2002 and based in Hawthorne, California, SpaceX is one of two private space-launch concerns bound by multibillion-dollar contracts to fly personnel to the ISS on NASA’s behalf. Boeing, the other company, has suffered numerous setbacks in the development of its CST-100 Starliner space capsule, the first crewed flight of which was to have launched in 2017 but has been pushed back to 2024.

Crew-7 is the first spaceflight for both Moghbeli, a U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, and Borisov. While Morgensen and Furukawa have both previously flown to the ISS, Morgensen was the first European to pilot a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. SpaceX's Endurance capsule is also a salty space veteran, having conveyed personnel of the Crew-3 and Crew-5 missions safely to the ISS.



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