Three U.S. and German astronauts took to the skies on Wednesday night for a six-month voyage to the International Space Station, which was delayed several times as originally scheduled for ten days.
They are expected to replace the crew that left the International Space Station, including the Frenchman Thomas Pesket, and returned to Earth from Monday night to Tuesday.
It was launched from Florida by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 9:03 pm local time on Wednesday (Thursday 2:03 GMT). Your Dragon Capsule is scheduled to land at the station on Thursday night at 7:10 (Friday 00:10 GMT).
Its departure was greeted with thunderous applause from the SpaceX control room.
NASA astronauts Raja Sari, Kyla Barron and Tom Marshburn and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer have been isolated for several days at the Kennedy Space Center.
They were originally scheduled to depart in late October, but were often delayed in departure due to a “minor health issue” with one of the meteorologists and astronauts – NASA did not provide further details.
Therefore, the space agency decided to send a crew of C-2, including Thomas Basket, back to Earth before launching Crew-3. Thus, the switching time between the crew, which usually takes place at zero gravity for a few days, does not take place.
This mission is called Crew-3 because it is the third operational operation of the International Space Station, provided by SpaceX on behalf of NASA.
But this is actually the fifth time that Elon Musk has put humans into orbit: before the Crew-1 and Crew-2 missions, the Demo-2 test mission sent two astronauts to the International Space Station. In September, SpaceX sent four astronauts into space independently from NASA for three days.
The Crew-3 crew boarded a new Dragon capsule on Wednesday, abbreviated as “Endurance”.
For American Tom Marshburn, this is the third time he is going into space. In fact, he flew a space shuttle in 2009 and then a Soyuz rocket in 2012-2013.
However, the other three astronauts will carry out the first flight.
Matthias Marar is the 12th German to enter orbit.
American Mark Vande Hee, who stayed there and celebrated his birthday on Wednesday, will welcome them alone on the American side of the network. Two Russian astronauts are on board.
The work will involve many experiences. One aims to monitor the effects of diet on intestinal flora and the immune system, which often weakens the defenses of astronauts due to their long stay in space. So they will have the opportunity to consume a variety of frozen dried fruits and vegetables (zucchini, kale …) as well as paramundi.
To continue the installation of the new solar panels at the International Space Station, the Crew 3 astronauts will also conduct astronaut walks.
They will receive two cruises: the Japanese will bring the Russian spacecraft Soyuz later this year and the Ax-1 mission in February 2022, organized by Axiom Space in association with SpaceX.
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