The second attempt was the right one. NASA and SpaceX sent four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX's Dragon capsule on Saturday, August 26, after a first attempt canceled the day before.
The Dragon capsule, carried by a Falcon 9 rocket, lifted off at 3:27 am (7:27 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the mission team called "Crew-7" on board, in front of about 10,000 people.
The mission was commanded by American Jasmin Moghbeli and included Denmark's Andreas Mogensen, Japan's Satoshi Furukawa and Russia's Konstantin Borissov.
"We took off," NASA announced on X (ex-Twitter), and cheers could then be heard from the control room when the capsule detached from the rocket.
"We may be from four different countries, but we are a united team with a common mission," Jasmin Moghbeli said after the separation.
After second stage separation, @SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft with the four members of #Crew7 aboard is in orbit and set to arrive at the @Space_Station on Sun., Aug. 27. Commander @AstroJaws thanked all those who prepared the crew and spacecraft for flight: pic.twitter.com/pHgZD0GA6T
— NASA (@NASA) August 26, 2023
"Looking at our planet from above"
Liftoff was originally scheduled for Friday, but was shifted to examine a component of the Dragon capsule.
This is the first trip to space for Konstantin Borissov and Jasmin Moghbeli. "What I'm most looking forward to is looking at our planet from above," the Iranian-born MIT graduate told a news conference last month. "Everyone I've spoken to who has ever flown said it was a life-changing point of view."
Flying in space "is something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember," the U.S. Navy test pilot also said.
Konstantin Borissov said he was looking forward to "this adventure" after a "very intense training".
This is the seventh regular crew rotation mission operated by SpaceX, billionaire Elon Musk's company, for NASA.
NASA is paying SpaceX for this service, which has reduced dependence on Russia to take crews to the International Space Station, since the US Space Shuttle stopped flights in 2011.
NASA has also contracted with Boeing to develop a second American means of transport to the ISS. But Boeing's program has suffered countless delays, and the first manned test flight is now not scheduled until after March 2024.
Konstantin Borissov will be the third Russian to travel aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule, powered by a Falcon 9 rocket.
Despite heightened diplomatic tensions between Washington and Moscow since the start of the war in Ukraine, collaboration between the US and Russian space agencies continues in the ISS – one of the few topics of cooperation still ongoing between the two countries.
After a journey of about one day, the crew will arrive at the International Space Station. He will stay about six months aboard this flying laboratory, where he will carry out multiple scientific experiments.
In particular, they will collect samples outside the capsule to see if it releases microorganisms into space through its aeration system, and if they can survive and reproduce in space.
A few days after the arrival of Crew-7, the crew of the Crew-6 mission will leave the station to return to Earth.
The station began construction in 1998, and has been continuously inhabited by an international crew since 2001.
It is expected to continue operating until at least 2030, after which it will be programmed to return to Earth and crash into the ocean. Several private companies are currently working on commercial space station projects to replace it.
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