The International Space Station (ISS) will soon be getting some new visitors, as four astronauts of the SpaceX Crew-7 mission began their journey to the station at 3:27 a.m. today, Saturday August 26. Launched using a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center, the crew will travel in their Crew Dragon spacecraft throughout the day before arriving at the ISS tomorrow.
“Crew-7 is a shining example of the power of both American ingenuity and what we can accomplish when we work together,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement. “Aboard station, 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. By partnering with countries around the world, NASA is engaging the best scientific minds to enable our bold missions, and it’s clear that we can do more – and we can learn more – when we work together.”
The launch was delayed for further analysis of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, but it was able to go ahead on Saturday after a delay of around one day. The mission is now scheduled to arrive at the ISS and dock with the station’s Harmony module at 8:39 a.m. ET (5:39 a.m. PT) on Sunday, August 27. The Crew-7 astronauts will open the hatch between their Crew Dragon and the ISS and meet up with current crew members including NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen, Woody Hoburg, and Frank Rubio, plus UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, and Andrey Fedyaev.
The Crew-7 astronauts will stay on the ISS for approximately six months, during which time they will take on duties like overseeing incoming cargo missions and being present when the private Axiom-3 mission arrives. But some of their primary work will be in scientific research, including conducting experiments into sleep in space, taking microbial samples from the outside of the space station, and investigating human health in space.
“The International Space Station is an incredible science and technology platform that requires people from all around the world to maintain and maximize its benefits to people on Earth,” said Ken Bowersox, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate . “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.”
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