SpaceX launched a fourth crew of four to the International Space Station this evening. This marks the fifth time that the company has successfully sent people into space. The spacefarers will spend the next day orbiting Earth in SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule before docking with ISS.
Crew-3 is carrying three NASA astronauts, Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, as well as one German astronaut, Matthias Maurer from the European Space Agency. After several delays during launch, the foursome took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral at 9:03 PM ET. They landed on top of one SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. After successfully lifting the Crew Dragon, carrying passengers to low Earth orbit with the Falcon 9, the Falcon 9 turned back towards Earth and performed one SpaceX's iconic rocket landings on its drone ship in the Atlantic.
SpaceX's mission control stated to crew that they were "welcome to orbit" after they separated from the rest. "Hope you enjoyed your flight from [the Falcon 9]. From here, Dragon will take you. "Safe travels," the launch director sent warm wishes to crew members. He said, "It was an honor to be part in this mission with you." Enjoy your holiday among the stars. As you fly by, we'll be waving. "Chers," Chari replied onboard that it was "a great experience, better than we could have imagined."
This is SpaceX's third crewed operational mission for NASA
SpaceX is currently on its third operational crewed mission as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Crew-3 is the third operational crewed mission for NASA. Each mission should last approximately six months. SpaceX will be responsible for both launching and returning astronauts home. Crew-3 astronauts are expected to return home in spring 2022.
SpaceX's main method of getting people into orbit is the Crew Dragon. This automated capsule has sleek seats and interactive touchscreens. The capsule can also dock automatically with the station without any input from crew members. Tomorrow, November 11, at 7:10 PM ET, Crew Dragon with Crew-3 will attempt to dock with ISS. The astronauts will then open the hatch and enter station about an hour later.
They'll be greeted there by three crew members, Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov (NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei) and Russian cosmonaut Pyotr DUBrov (Russian cosmonaut). The seven residents will perform a brief welcome ceremony once they have arrived at the station around 9:20 PM ET. Maruer is officially 600th person to have flown to space. Barron is 601st.
Crew-3 was unable to cross paths with another group of astronauts.
Crew-3's crew missed the chance to meet another group of astronauts at the station. Four astronauts from SpaceX's Crew-2 mission left the ISS Monday. They flew back to Earth in their Crew Dragon, and then splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico. Crew-3 was originally supposed to launch after the Crew-2 astronauts returned. However, delays caused the Crew-3 launch to be stalled. NASA eventually decided to send the Crew-2 astronauts home before Crew-3.
Chari said that sometimes, when you fly on Halloween, you get a trick rather than a treat. She was referring to the fact that the mission was scheduled to take place October 31st. Chari said it was an honor to fly on Veteran’s Day.
Crew-2 returned on Monday, November 8, and all went well. One of the four main parachutes in the capsule inflated slightly slower than the rest while it was being lowered to the sea. SpaceX and NASA both confirmed that the capsule safely landed the crew. NASA also stated that the turnaround time between splashdown and launch was the fastest in human spaceflight history.
NASA had to perform a maneuver with the ISS before today's launch to ensure it wasn't hit by space debris. At 3:30 PM ET, thrusters aboard a Russian Progress vehicle docked to the station fired up. They moved the space station slightly higher than the Fengyun-1C fragment. Crew-3 was able to safely reach the space station tomorrow thanks to this boost.