Crew-3 Astronauts Welcomed to the International Space Station

Team begins its six-month stay in space filled with experiments.

NASA’s Crew-3 astronauts arrived at the International Space Station Thursday night, marking SpaceX’s fifth crewed spaceflight since May 2020. Crew-3′s arrival was part of an indirect takeover, where the outgoing Crew-2 astronauts were not able to welcome the new astronauts to the station.

After safely docking the Crew Dragon capsule, Crew-3 was welcomed by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and the European Space Agency’s Matthias Maurer will begin their six-month stay on the ISS to conduct hundreds of experiments, aided by scientists here on Earth.

Some of those experiments include food physiology, free-flying robots, and the human body when exposed to long-duration stays in microgravity.

“What a beautiful evening for a launch. It was another great experience seeing those four guys take off into space on top of that Falcon 9 on that Dragon,” said NASA associate administrator Bob Cabana in a statement. “It is a huge challenge to safely get humans to and from low-Earth orbit, and the partnerships that we have with our international partners and our commercial crew partners has enabled this space economy that we have right now. What a great time to be part of America’s space program.”

Crew-3 is the third of six rotations of the Commercial Crew Program, dedicated to developing “safe, reliable, and cost-effective human transportation to and from the International Space Station from the United States through a partnership with American private industry.”

Most notably, SpaceX has accomplished multiple tasks through NASA. Every crew in the program has flown to the ISS aboard a Crew Dragon capsule and a Falcon 9 rocket—a reusable booster that lands itself after each flight.

This spaceflight is the first for most of Crew-3, except for Marshburn, who’s flown twice before. Crew-3 is taking over for NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide, and the ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet. The four Crew-2 astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico late Monday night.

Later this month, NASA and SpaceX will collaborate again on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, slated for a November 24 launch.

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