After a third attempt, NASA’s Crew-6 mission successfully lifted off and flies to the International Space Station
The crew will spend about six months in space, during which time they will carry out more than 200 scientific experiments in microgravity and maintenance tasks.
NASA’s Crew-6 mission took off early this Thursday from Cape Canaveral (USA) to the International Space Station (ISS), aboard a SpaceX Dragon ship.
At 12:34 p.m. local time, a Falcon 9 rocket with Dragon Endeavor at its apex lifted off from Platform 39A at the Kennedy Space Center about eight minutes later to separate and continue the journey on its own at more than 28,000 kilometers per hour.
Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, the mission’s commander and pilot from the US space agency NASA, as well as specialists Sultan Alneyadi from the space agency of the United Arab Emirates and Andrey Fedyaev from the Russian Roscosmos, are on board Endeavour as it completes its fourth mission with Crew-6.
As per usual, the Falcon 9 reusable component reached SpaceX’s “Just Read the Instructions” platform in the Atlantic less than 10 minutes after liftoff.
It is anticipated that the private company’s ship will reach the International Space Station and land in the Harmony module. Members of Mission 68 will later receive them from the orbiting laboratory.
After the mission’s launch, Kelvin Manning, the deputy director of the Kennedy Space Center, told NASA TV that the launch on Thursday is a strong example of the collaboration between the government, business, and international partners.
The manager said, “And we are just getting started,” referring to the 90 launches from Cape Canaveral scheduled for this year. He specifically mentioned the launch of the Boeing Starliner spacecraft’s first manned mission, the CFT test mission to the International Space Station.
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The third try
Crew-6 was finally able to take off after two postponements caused by technical reasons.
The launch was supposed to happen on Sunday, but it was postponed until Monday to allow for more thermal monitoring of the capsule’s exterior panels and a check of certain helium canisters on the Falcon 9 rocket.
On Monday, though, it had to be aborted less than three minutes before launch because of an unexpected issue with the flow of trimethylaluminum triethyl boron (TEA-TEB), which is required to ignite the rocket’s first-stage engines.
The TEA-TEB pass-through system’s ground filter was found to be clogged by NASA and SpaceX, so they changed it, purged the tubing with nitrogen, and made sure the entire system was clean and ready for the fresh launch attempt.
The Crew-6 crew will stay on the International Space Station for about six months, during which time they will carry out more than 200 scientific experiments in microgravity and maintenance tasks.
Some of the commissioned experiments have to do with combustion in “microgravity” and the effects of space flight on the human immune system and organs.
To study the effects that manned missions can have in space, astronauts will venture outside the ISS to collect samples from the station’s vents.
Finding out if the ISS is dispersing microorganisms into space and, if so, how many and how far they could fly are the objectives of this study.
To reduce potential contamination, the findings of this particular experiment may change the design of the next space missions and astronaut suits.
According to NASA spokespersons, Crew-6 will open the door “for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and to improve life on Earth,” like NASA’s past Space X missions.
As part of the Artemis program, the US Space Agency intends to launch a human trip to the Moon in 2024.