Enlarge image

Arrived in the ISS: (from left) Michael López-Alegría, Walter Villadei, Alper Gezeravc and Marcus Wandt together with the crew of Expedition 70 in the Harmony module of the International Space Station (ISS).

Photo: AFP

A four-person European crew has reached the International Space Station ISS - including a Turkish astronaut for the first time.

Their space capsule docked with the ISS on Saturday.

In addition to the Turkish Air Force pilot Alper Gezeravci, the Swedish astronaut Marcus Wandt, the Italian Walter Villadei and the US Spaniard Michael López-Alegría are also part of the Ax-3 mission, which is carried out by the private US space company Axiom Space in collaboration with the US space agency Nasa is organized.

The crew was greeted by the seven-member crew of the ISS.

This consists of two US astronauts, a Danish and a Japanese astronaut and three Russian cosmonauts.

"It's nice to see five Europeans in space on the ISS," said German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer on the online service X, formerly Twitter.

The Dragon capsule attached to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was launched on Thursday from the Kennedy Space Center in the US state of Florida.

The newcomers will spend around two weeks on the ISS and carry out a series of experiments.

The aim is, among other things, to better understand the effects of microgravity on the human body.

The 14-day Ax-3 mission is organized by Axiom Space in collaboration with the US space agency NASA.

López-Alegría is Axiom's chief astronaut.

The former NASA astronaut has both Spanish and US citizenship.

20 experiments in two weeks

The Swede Wandt, sent to the ISS by the Swedish space agency SNSA and ESA, is expected to complete 20 experiments during his two-week stay in space and also maintain experiment hardware on board the International Space Station, like the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne announced.

It is therefore "the first time that an ESA astronaut has been booked on a commercial mission by the US launch service provider Axiom."

According to information, German research institutes are involved in ten of Wandt's 20 experiments.

In addition to the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine, the DLR Institute of Materials Physics in Space and the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, these include the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, the Berlin Charité and the universities of Giessen, Greifswald and Kiel and the Aachen research institute Access.

Among other things, it's about a new voice assistant for astronauts that is equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), the effects of a space mission on people's bones, cardiovascular system and brain, as well as possible air pollution in the ISS.