SpaceX Launches Space Station Crew In NASA Mission

SpaceX has successfully launched a four-man crew to orbit, as part of the mission to supply the International Space Station with fresh crewmembers.

Reuters reported that a Russian cosmonaut and United Arab Emirates astronaut joined two NASA crewmates for the flight.

The successful launch comes after the previous launch on Monday was suddenly scrubbed due to a problem with the chemical triethylaluminum triethylboron, or TEA-TEB, that reacts with liquid oxygen to ignite the nine first-stage engines of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Crew Dragon capsule. Image credit: SpaceX

Successful launch

It was the first non-weather related issue to scrub a Crew Dragon spacecraft launch since they began carrying passengers to the ISS for NASA in 2020.

The Crew-6 mission has transported NASA astronauts mission commander Stephen Bowen, 59, and Warren Hoburg, 37, as well as UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, 41, and cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.

It’s the sixth operational astronaut mission for NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme and SpaceX’s ninth crewed flight overall.

The mission is notable in that Alneyadi is only the UAE’s second citizen to fly to space and the first to launch from US soil as part of a long-duration space station team.

The country’s first-ever astronaut launched into orbit in 2019 aboard a Russian rocket.

Reusable rocket

The SpaceX launch vehicle, consisting of a Falcon 9 rocket topped with an autonomously operated Crew Dragon capsule called Endeavour, lifted off at 12:34 am EST (0534 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

According to Reuters, about nine minutes after Thursday’s launch, the rocket’s upper stage delivered the Crew Dragon into preliminary orbit.

The reusable lower-stage Falcon booster, meanwhile, flew itself back to Earth and landed safely on a recovery vessel, dubbed “Just Read the Instructions,” floating in the Atlantic.

The trip to the International Space Station (ISS), a laboratory orbiting about 250 miles (420 km) above Earth, was expected to take nearly 25 hours, with rendezvous planned for about 1:15 a.m. EST (0615 GMT) on Friday.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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