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SpaceX Crew Dragon astronauts launch to start six busy months in space

Cape Canaveral (CBS News)

On Wednesday evening, four astronauts were launched onto the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and began a 22-hour rendezvous with the International Space Station. The launch will take place just two days after their replacement crew returns to Earth to complete the longest flight in American space history.

Watch the launch live stream in the player below or by clicking here:

Crew 3 commander Rajachari, co-pilot Thomas Marshburn, Keila Baron, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer pad the Kennedy Space Center at 9:03 pm (Eastern Standard Time), 10 days late due to bad weather. It was planned to blow up from 39A. Minor medical problems and Crew Dragon will return to Earth on Monday.

The station was scheduled to pass just east of the launch pad about eight minutes before takeoff. Russian flight controllers planned to adjust the station’s orbit hours before launch to avoid debris from Chinese satellites destroyed in the 2007 anti-satellite weapons test.

This maneuver did not affect Crew 3’s flight plan, and upon exiting the cyclone, the first stage of Falcon 9 made a second flight, separated and flipped, and landed on a stationed offshore drone. It was expected to do. Hundreds of miles downrange in the Atlantic Ocean.

If successful, it marks SpaceX’s 93rd booster recovery and 70th maritime recovery. Meanwhile, the second stage of the Falcon 9 will continue to climb into orbit, releasing the Crew Dragon about 12 minutes after takeoff and flying on its own.

From there, former F-35 test pilot and Air Force combat veteran Chari monitors an automatic rendezvous with the space station from behind and below before docking in the front port of the lab’s Harmony module around 7 o’clock. Get closer. Thursday at 10 pm.

The Crew Dragon launched in September had a leaky fitting in the toilet plumbing, and a similar problem was found with the Crew 2 Dragon, and returning crew members began to refrain from using the toilet while traveling to Earth. rice field. The suspicious fitting of the Crew-3 capsule was changed before launch and no problems were expected.

Waiting for the new crew are Soyuz MS-19 / 65S commander Anton Schkaprelov, astronaut Pyotr Dubrov, and NASA astronaut Mark Vandehei. Dubrov and Vande Hei, launched on April 9th ​​at the station, are scheduled to return to Earth on March 30th next year, recording almost a year (355 days) in space.

Chari, Marshburn, Barron, and Maurer will stay at the station until late April and hand them over to four other astronauts aboard the fourth new crew dragon in SpaceX inventory. Crew 3 has a flight period of approximately 166 days.

The revival of Crew-2 and the launch of Crew-3 will take place in the midst of a surge in short-term commercial spaceflight, from all-citizen Inspiration4 charity missions to low earth orbit in September and a 12-day stay at the space station. I will. Last month by a Russian actress and film director.

Following the flight of Crew 3, a Japanese billionaire and his assistant visited the space station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in December, and another crew dragon flew four civilians in February. Will be taken to the space station for a 10-day visit.

Apart from the commercial visit, a new Russian module will arrive at the station the day after Thanksgiving, and Marshburn and Baron are planning an EVA to replace the external antenna the following week. More EVA is planned early next year to continue upgrading the station’s PV system.

Baron, one of the first women to board a nuclear submarine after graduating from the Navy School, said:

“We are really at the dawn of this new era. We have a commercial spaceflight partner who is flying humans into low earth orbit, and we are ready to partner with us and take over so that we can focus on exploration. I’m going to the moon to learn how to get to Mars. “

On a more personal level, “this will actually be the first rocket launch I’ve seen in person,” she later told reporters. So I’m really excited about this whole experience. “

Upon entering the flight, only 598 people, including Marshburn, flew in space. Both Chari and Marshburn sit in front of the crew dragons Baron and Maurer, making Chari the 599th person to reach space. In the lottery, Maurer, who was designated as the No. 1 mission specialist, will be ranked 600th, and Barron and MS-2 will be ranked 601st.

Crew 3 astronauts initially planned to launch on October 31, but the bad weather in the downrange censored landing zone and the unspecified “minor” with one of the four astronauts. The flight was delayed due to “medical problems”.

Flight was delayed again due to bad weather when NASA decided to bring Crew 2 astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, ESA astronaut Thomas Peske, and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide back to Earth on Monday. I did.

NASA prefers to launch a new station crew while the departing crew is still on board. This allows astronauts leaving to easily explain face-to-face with substitutes, both inside and outside the station’s operations.

However, given the weather and the medical problems of The Crew 3, NASA instead returned Crew 2 to Earth to take advantage of the fine weather in the Splashdown Zone of the Gulf of Mexico and for The Crew 2 Dragon. I chose to promote. The capsule was approaching the 210-day orbital certification limit.

The re-entry and descent into the splashdown went smoothly, but one of the four major parachutes in the capsule took 75 seconds longer to inflate than the other three. The engineer recovered the shoot and conducted a detailed inspection, but no problems were found and the manager allowed the Crew-3 Dragon to be launched.

SpaceX Crew Dragon astronauts launch to start six busy months in space

Source link SpaceX Crew Dragon astronauts launch to start six busy months in space

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