Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

SpaceX takes off a new crew towards the ISS

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SpaceX's Falcon9 rocket took off in Florida, illuminating the night sky with a long, brilliant plume of orange flames.

Agence France-Presse

Three American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut took off Sunday evening from Florida to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will stay for about six months.

The rocket SpaceX's Falcon 9 lifted off at 10:53 p.m. local time from the Kennedy Space Center, lighting up the night sky with a long, brilliant plume of orange flame.

A few minutes after firing, the launcher was flying over the Atlantic Ocean at a speed of some 9,700 km/h, NASA commentators described.

The ship, which has three men and one woman on board, took about nine minutes to go into orbit. It must dock with the ISS to relieve four crew members of the space laboratory.

Initially scheduled for Saturday, the launch had been postponed by 24 hours due to unfavorable weather.

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The capsule named Endeavor and placed at the top of the rocket has already been used for four previous missions manned by Elon Musk's company.

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Alexander Grebenkin, Michael Barratt, Matthew Dominick and Jeanette Epps, at the Kennedy Space Center, before their liftoff to the International Space Station

The four passengers this time are the members of Crew-8, the eighth regular rotation mission of the American crew in the ISS provided by SpaceX for NASA.

American Michael Barratt is the only Crew-8 astronaut to have already visited the flying laboratory.

However, this is the first space trip for the two other Americans – Matthew Dominick and Jeanette Epps – as well as Russian cosmonaut Alexander Grebionkin.

NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, which together operate the ISS, have established an astronaut exchange program, each taking turns transporting a crew member from the ISS. #x27;other country.

This program was maintained despite the war in Ukraine, and the SSI is now one of the very few subjects of cooperation between Washington and Moscow.

The members of Crew-8 will join the seven people already present on the ISS.

After a handover period of a few days with the four members of Crew- 7 – an American, a Dane, a Japanese and a Russian – the latter will return to Earth aboard their own Dragon capsule.

More than 200 scientific experiments must be carried out during the six months Crew-8 spends in the flying laboratory, which has been permanently inhabited for 23 years.

While the first years of the station's life were dedicated to its construction, astronauts can now devote more time to science.

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At the end of its decommissioning, the International Space Station will have to be decommissioned.

Many of the things we dreamed of long ago are coming to fruition today, NASA boss Bill Nelson said this week, citing stem cell research as an example.

But the age of the station also has a downside: NASA and Roscomos are monitoring a leak located at the end of a Russian module, and whose throughput has recently increased, Joel Montalbano, ISS program manager at NASA, said this week.

A hatch is currently permanently closed to isolate the leak from the rest of the station.

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