SpaceX takes the crew-6 astronaut team to the International Space Station

Members of the SpaceX Dragon Crew-6 mission

The four members of SpaceX’s Dragon Crew-6 mission on March 1, 2023

CHANDAN KHANNA, AFP via Getty Images

Four astronauts launched to the International Space Station (ISS) at 12:34 am EST this morning. The team, Crew-6, flew in the Crew Dragon Endeavor capsule, manufactured and operated by Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX. The capsule sat on a Falcon 9 rocket, also built by SpaceX. The crew will replace astronauts leaving the ISS.

The crew, which entered orbit around Earth today after launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is scheduled to reach the ISS in the early hours of this morning (EST) and spend the next six months conducting hundreds of science experiments and technology demonstrations.

One question the crew will explore is how factors like airflow and radiation affect the flammability of materials in space. This could help improve the safety of future space missions. Other experiments will explore ways to monitor and improve immunity and heart health in astronauts.

The crew will also measure the extent to which microbes are being released from the space station and how far they travel, which will inform measures to limit contamination on future space missions.

Commanding the crew is Stephen Bowen of NASA, who is second from the right in the photo above. Bowen has visited the ISS three times and is responsible for all phases of the flight from launch to re-entry.

Far right Sultan Al Neyadi, the first UAE astronaut to fly in a commercial spacecraft. Al Neyadi trained at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in the United Arab Emirates.

Also making his space debut is Warren Hoburg, second from left. Trained as a pilot, Hoburg previously did research on spacecraft engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They are joined by fourth crew member Andrey Fedyaev, a Russian cosmonaut who will monitor the spacecraft during the launch and re-entry phases of the flight.

All four wear lightweight, tailored spacesuits – with a flame-resistant outer layer and touchscreen-compatible gloves – that protect them from a possible depressurization if air pressure drops due to leaks from the spacecraft.

“A single connection point on the suit’s thigh connects life support systems, including air and power connections,” NASA and SpaceX said. “The suit also routes communications and cooling systems to the astronauts during flight.”

Today’s successful launch comes after an earlier attempt on February 27 was scrapped due to a problem with the ignition fluid that powers the rocket’s engines.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *