After the last-minute launch cancellation earlier this week, the SpaceX rocket carrying four astronauts - two Americans, a Russian and an Emirati - lifted off on Thursday (March 2) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. to reach the International Space Station (ISS).
"The launch of
The Dragon capsule in which the four passengers are traveling is scheduled to dock with the ISS at 7:17 a.m. on Friday after a journey of just over twenty-four hours. The astronauts will stay on the station for about six months.
Monday, the takeoff had been canceled at the last minute due to a technical problem. NASA explained on Wednesday that the problem was with the flow of engine ignition fluid, caused by a "clogged filter", which was replaced.
The crew, dubbed "Crew-6", consists of NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, Emirati astronaut Sultan Al-Neyadi and Russian astronaut Andrei Fediaev. Sultan Al-Neyadi, 41, will become the fourth astronaut from an Arab country in history and the second Emirati, but the first from his country to spend six months in space.
Although tensions between Washington and Moscow are at their highest a year after the Russian offensive in Ukraine, the two countries have maintained an exchange program allowing Russians to travel with SpaceX, and Americans to travel on rockets Russian Soyuz. The International Space Station is one of the few fields of cooperation still in progress between the two countries.
Crew-6 will replace the four members of Crew-5 (two Americans, a Russian and a Japanese) who arrived in October 2022 and who will return to Earth aboard their own SpaceX ship, after a few days of handover. Three other passengers (two Russians and an American) are also on board the space station, they arrived with a Soyuz spacecraft. The ISS will therefore welcome no less than eleven people for a few days.