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Sat, Mar 04, 2023

SpaceX Crew-6 Starts Long Mission

Up, Up, and …

Following a successful liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center’s storied Launch Complex 39A, the four crew-members manning NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission have safely attained Earth orbit.

The SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket bearing the Crew Dragon capsule Endeavor thundered aloft at 00:34 EST on the morning of 02 March 2023. The capsule’s international crew—NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, and mission specialists Sultan Alneyadi of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev—is NASA’s sixth commercial crew rotation mission to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX spacecraft.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson enthused: “Congratulations to the NASA and SpaceX teams for another history-making mission to the International Space Station! The Commercial Crew Program is proof American ingenuity and leadership in space benefits all of humanity—through groundbreaking science, innovative technology, and newfound partnership. Crew-6 will be busy aboard the International Space Station, conducting over two-hundred experiments that will help us to prepare for missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, as well as improve life here on Earth. We look forward to seeing all that they accomplish.”

During Endeavor’s flight, SpaceX will monitor a series of automatic spacecraft maneuvers from its mission control center in Hawthorne, California. NASA teams will contemporaneously monitor ISS operations throughout the flight from the agency’s Mission Control Center at Houston’s Johnson Space Center.

Endeavor docked autonomously to the space-facing port of the ISS’s Harmony module on Friday 03 March at approximately 01:17 EST. 

Once embarked and feted, Crew-6 joined the Expedition 68 crew—consisting of NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Nicole Mann, and Josh Cassada, as well as JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, and Anna Kikina. The 11 crew-members will live and work aboard the orbital outpost until Crew-5 members Mann, Cassada, Wakata, and Kikina return to Earth a few days later.

Among the scientific endeavors Crew-6 will perform while aboard the ISS are experiments investigating how particular materials burn in microgravity, tissue chip research on heart, brain, and cartilage functions, and the collection of microbial samples from the space station’s exterior.

Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate in Washington, stated: “For more than two-decades, humans have continuously lived and worked aboard the International Space Station. Commercial Crew Program missions like Crew-6 are essential so we can continue to maximize the important research possible only in the space station’s unique microgravity environment. Congratulations to the NASA and SpaceX teams on a successful launch! I am looking forward to seeing the crew safely aboard the station.”

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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