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SpaceX crew docks with International Space Station

A new four-man crew including two Americans, an Emirati and a Russian, has arrived at the International Space Station for a six-month mission.

March 4, 2023
By Steve Gorman
4 March 2023

A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule has arrived safely at the International Space Station, carrying two US astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and a United Arab Emirates astronaut to begin a six-month science mission.

The autonomously flying spacecraft dubbed Endeavour docked to the space station shortly after 1.40am EST (1740 AEDT) on Friday, nearly 25 hours after launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The coupling was confirmed as the ISS and capsule flew in tandem at more than 28,000km/h some 240 kilometres above earth across the coast of East Africa, according to a live NASA webcast.

The four-member team was assigned to conduct more than 200 experiments and technology demonstrations aboard the space station, ranging from research on human cell growth in space to controlling combustible materials in microgravity.

Some of the research would help pave the way for future long-duration human expeditions to the moon and beyond under NASA’s Artemis program, its successor to Apollo, the US space agency said.

The ISS crew also is responsible for performing maintenance and repairs aboard the station.

Designated Crew 6, the mission marks the sixth long-duration ISS team that SpaceX has flown for NASA since the private rocket venture founded by billionaire Elon Musk began sending American astronauts to orbit in May 2020.

The latest crew was led by Stephen Bowen, 59, a former US Navy submarine officer who has logged more than 40 days in orbit as a veteran of three Space Shuttle flights and seven spacewalks.

Fellow NASA astronaut Warren “Woody” Hoburg, 37, an electrical engineer, computer science expert and commercial aviator designated, was making his first spaceflight.

The Crew 6 mission also included UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, 41, the second person from his country to fly to space and the first to launch from US soil as part of a long-duration space station team.

Rounding out the crew was Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, 42, who like Alneyadi is an engineer and spaceflight rookie designated as a mission specialist for the team.

Fedyaev is the second cosmonaut to fly aboard an American spacecraft under a renewed ride-sharing deal signed in July by NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, despite heightened tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The team will be welcomed aboard the space station by seven current ISS occupants – three NASA crew members along with three Russians and a Japanese astronaut – who are expected to end their mission and depart the space station this month. 

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