SpaceX and NASA will send a new international crew to the ISS

(CNN) — SpaceX and NASA are preparing to send a new crew to the International Space Station (ISS) following a public-private initiative. Maintain the orbiting laboratory with all its staff and return astronaut launches to US soil. The mission includes crew members from around the world: two NASA astronauts, a Russian astronaut and a United Arab Emirates astronaut.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule are expected to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, this Monday at 1:45 p.m. Miami time.

Crew Dragon, the astronaut-carrying vehicle, will separate from the rocket after launch and spend a day maneuvering in orbit before docking with the ISS. The capsule is scheduled to dock with the space station at 2:38 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

The mission will mark the seventh space flight conducted by SpaceX on behalf of NASA since 2020.

The Crew-6 crew on board includes NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen, veteran of three space shuttles and first-timer Warren Hoburg, and Sultan Alniadi, the second astronaut from the United Arab Emirates. Space and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedayev.

Once Bowen, Hoburg, Fedyaev and Alneyadi are aboard the ISS, they will conduct operations for SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts arriving at the space station in October 2022.

They are expected to spend up to six months in the orbiting laboratory, conducting science experiments and maintaining the two-decade-old station.

The mission comes as the 5 astronauts currently aboard the ISS deal with another transportation issue. In December, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft used to transport two astronauts and a NASA astronaut to the space station suffered a coolant leak. Russian space agency Roscosmos launched a replacement vehicle on February 23 after the capsule was deemed unsafe to carry astronauts. It arrived at the ISS this Saturday.

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Work with the Russians

Russian cosmonaut Fedyaev joined Crew-6 as part of the crew Shared Transport Agreement Signed last year between NASA and Roscosmos. The deal is to ensure continued access to the ISS for both Roscosmos and NASA: if either the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule or the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, used to transport people to the ISS, experience difficulties and are decommissioned. , the other will be responsible for putting astronauts from both countries into orbit.

This was Fedyaev’s first mission into space.

Despite geopolitical tensions fueled by an invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Russia remains a key U.S. partner on the ISS. NASA has repeatedly said the conflict has had no impact on cooperation between the nations’ space agencies.

“Space cooperation has a long history, and we are setting an example of how life on Earth should be done,” Fedayev said at a news conference on January 24.

SpaceX Crew-6 astronauts pause for a photo after arriving at the Kennedy Space Center Launch and Landing Facility in Florida on February 21, 2023. From left to right: Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, Roscosmos cosmonaut and United Arab Emirates SultanSA Warnayadi “Woody” Hoberg and Stephen Bowen. (Credit: Kim Shifflett/NASA)

Bowen, a 59-year-old NASA astronaut, will lead the Crew-6 mission.

“I’ve been working with astronauts for over 20 years and it’s always amazing,” he said during the briefing. “Once you go into space, it’s one crew, one vehicle, and we all have the same goal.”

Bowen grew up in Cohasset, Massachusetts and studied engineering, earning a BS in electrical engineering from the US Naval Academy in 1986 and an MS in marine engineering in 1993 from a joint program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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He completed military submarine training and served in the Navy before being selected as a NASA astronaut in 2000, becoming the first submarine officer selected by the space agency.

He had previously completed three missions during NASA’s space shuttle program between 2008 and 2011, logging a total of more than 47 days in space.

“My body retained the memory of 12 years ago so I could enjoy it,” Bowen said of the Crew-6 release.

Meet the rest of the Crew-6 team

Directing the mission, Hoberg is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned a PhD in electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, before becoming an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. He joined NASA astronauts in 2017.

“We’re going to live in space for six months. I think back to six months, and I think, ‘Well, that’s a long time,'” Hoberg told reporters about his expectations for the trip.

Still, Hoberg added: “I’m looking forward to my first look through the dome,” referring to the well-known part of the ISS that has a large window that offers panoramic views of Earth.

Alneyadi, who supported the UAE’s first astronaut in orbit in 2019, Hassa Al Mansouri, will now become the first Emirati astronaut to remain in space for the longest time.

At a news conference in January, Alneyadi said he plans to bring food from the Middle East to share with his crew while in space. A jiu-jitsu practitioner, he also wears a kimono, the traditional uniform of this martial art.

“It’s hard to believe this is actually happening,” Alneyadi said Press conference After arriving at the Kennedy Space Center on February 21. “I can’t ask more from a team. I think we’re ready: physically, mentally and technically.”

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What do they do in space?

During their time in space, Crew-6 astronauts will oversee more than 200 science-based projects, including exploring and studying how materials burn in a microgravity environment. Microbial samples Must be collected from outside the ISS.

During their stay they will conduct two other important missions called aboard the ISS. The first is a Boeing crewed flight test, marking the first spaceflight under the Boeing-NASA partnership. The flight, scheduled for April, will carry NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Sunita Williams to the space station, and will mark the last phase of tests and demonstrations Boeing must carry out to certify its Starliner spacecraft for routine astronaut missions. .

Then, in May, a crew of four astronauts will arrive on a mission called AX-2, a privately funded space station sightseeing mission. That mission, carried aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, included former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, now a private astronaut with Texas-based space tourism company Axiom, which negotiated and organized the mission.

That includes Three paying customersSimilar to the AX-1 mission Last year the ISS.

Bowen said in January that both Boeing’s CFT mission and the AX-2 would be major milestones.

“This is another paradigm shift,” he said. “Those two events, the big events, in space travel that happen during our wake, and all the other work we have to do, I don’t think we can fully digest it until after the fact.”

Misty Tate

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