Washington, Aug 27 (IANS) An international crew of four, representing four countries, was on its way to the International Space Station (ISS). The space agency’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission is the seventh commercial crew rotation mission for NASA.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Dragon spacecraft into orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, for a science expedition aboard the orbital laboratory.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said late on Saturday that the crew will conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations to prepare for missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, all while benefiting humanity on Earth.
The Dragon spacecraft was set to dock autonomously to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module on Sunday evening.
Crew-7 will join the space station’s Expedition 69 crew of NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen, Woody Hoburg, and Frank Rubio, as well as UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, and Andrey Fedyaev.
For a short time, the number of crew aboard the space station will increase to 11 until Crew-6 members Bowen, Hoburg, Alneyadi, and Fedyaev return to Earth a few days later.
Crew-7 will conduct new scientific research to benefit humanity on Earth and prepare for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.
Experiments include the collection of microbial samples from the exterior of the space station, the first study of human response to different spaceflight durations, and an investigation of the physiological aspects of astronauts’ sleep.
“It’s great seeing Crew-7 launch with four crew members representing four countries who will live and work on humanity’s home in space as we continue the nearly 23 years of a continuous human presence aboard the microgravity laboratory,” said Ken Bowersox, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA.