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SpaceX and NASA are set to launch a crew of astronauts who hail from all over the world on a trip to the International Space Station.
The mission, which will include some historical firsts, is moving forward even as geopolitical tensions mount on the ground.
The four crew members — astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Casada of NASA, astronaut Koichi Wakata of JAXA, or JAXA, and astronaut Anna Kekina of Roscosmos — are on their way to lift off aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft at 12 p.m. ET United States on Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. If the weather is bad or other issues, teams can try again Thursday at 11:38 a.m. ET.
a broadcast live On the NASA website Right after 8:30 a.m. ET Wednesday. NASA will also broadcast a post-event brief, tentatively scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET, to discuss the launch.
Dubbed Crew-5, the mission is the sixth astronaut flight to be launched as a joint effort by NASA and SpaceX, a private airline, to the space station.
The upcoming spaceflight marks a historic moment, as Mann will never become the first Native American woman to travel to space. She will also serve as a mission commander, making her the first woman to take on such a role in a SpaceX mission.
Moreover, Kikina will be the first Russian to join the SpaceX mission as part of a ride-sharing deal with NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, took place in july. Her participation in the flight is the latest clear sign that despite rising tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US-Russia partnership in space will last for decades. At least for now.
After the expected launch on Wednesday, the Crew Dragon spacecraft will separate from the SpaceX rocket propelling it into orbit and begin a slow, precise journey to the International Space Station, which orbits about 200 miles (322 kilometers) above Earth’s surface. The spacecraft aims to dock with the space station on Thursday around 5 p.m. ET.
The launch of NASA astronauts to the space station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft is nothing new. The space agency has collaborated with SpaceX for years Shuttle mission transfer People get to and from the space station after NASA retired from the Space Shuttle program in 2011.
With the return of astronaut launches from American soil, SpaceX provided the stage for many of the first historic events. For example, the Crew-4 Dragon mission carried NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins The first black woman Ever to join the crew of the International Space Station.
On this journey, Man will become a registered member of the Wailacki tribe in the Round Valley Reserve The first Native American woman to travel into orbit.
“I am very proud to represent Native Americans and my heritage,” Mann said. “I think it’s important to celebrate our diversity and realize how important it is when we collaborate and unite, the amazing accomplishments we can achieve.”
In her role as commander, MAN will be responsible for ensuring that the spacecraft is on track from the time it is launched until docked at the International Space Station and again when it returns home with the four astronauts next year. Never before has a woman taken the lead on a SpaceX mission couple of women He served in this position during the Space Shuttle program.
Kikina, the Roscosmos cosmonaut, will become the first Russian ever to launch on a SpaceX spacecraft at a time of US-Russia relations hit close Fever degree on Ukraine war.
But NASA officials have repeatedly said that joint operations with Russia on the International Space Station, where the two countries are the primary operators, will remain isolated from the battle. Kekina’s flight comes just weeks after NASA’s Dr. Frank Rubio flew to the International Space Station On board a Roscosmos Soyuz capsule.
“I really like my crewmates,” Kekina told reporters after arriving at the launch site in Florida on Saturday. “I really feel comfortable and relaxed. … We will do our job in the best way: happy.”
Mann and fellow NASA astronaut Josh Cassada, who grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, joined NASA in 2013. Cassada has described Mann as one of his “closest friends on the planet.”
As with MAN, this mission will be Cassada and Kekina’s first trip into space.
For veteran astronaut Wakata, who previously traveled on NASA’s space shuttle and Russian Soyuz spacecraft, this flight marks his fifth mission in spaceflight.
“I still remember when I first traveled and saw our beautiful home planet,” he recalls during a press conference in August. “It was so wonderful, such a beautiful planet, and then I felt so lucky to have been able to call this planet our home.”
After arriving at the International Space Station, the crew will join the Seven astronauts are already aboard the International Space Station – Including four NASA cosmonauts, one European Space Agency cosmonaut and two Russian cosmonauts.
There will be a handover period, where the current ISS crew will help the newly arrived astronauts settle in before the separate Crew Dragon spacecraft brings the four astronauts who were part of SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission home.
Next, Crew-5 astronauts will conduct spacewalks, during which astronauts exit the International Space Station, to maintain the space station’s exterior appearance, as well as performance. More than 200 scientific experiments.
According to NASA, “the experiments will include studies on printing human organs in space, understanding fuel systems operating on the Moon, and better understanding heart disease.”
Crew 5 is scheduled to return from space in about five months.
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