SpaceX launches NASA Crew 6 mission
A long exposure photo shows SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew 6 mission at the company
SpaceX flew four people from Florida to the International Space Station as Elon Musk’s company begins the finale of the original six missions contracted by NASA.
Known as Crew-6, the mission for NASA will bring the group to the space station for a six-month stay in orbit. The mission marks the sixth launch by a SpaceX operational crew for NASA and the company’s ninth manned spaceflight to date.
“If you enjoyed your ride, please don’t forget to give us five stars,” cried SpaceX’s mission control after the capsule reached orbit.
“That was fantastic, thank you,” replied Crew 6 Commander Stephen Bowen.
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Crew-6 took off just after midnight on Thursday morning and began a journey of just over 24 hours to the ISS. The mission brings the number of astronauts launched by SpaceX since its first manned launch in May 2020 to 34, including both government and private missions.
The Crew 6 astronauts before launch, from left: Russian cosmonaut
The crew includes two Americans, one Russian and one Emirati: NASA astronauts Warren Hoburg and Stephen Bowen, Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev and United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi.
SpaceX launched the astronauts in its Crew Dragon capsule called Endeavor on a Falcon 9 rocket. Both the rocket and capsule are reusable, with the latter flying on its fourth mission to date.
After a last-minute delay during SpaceX’s first launch attempt Monday, a data review identified a clogged filter in a ground system as the cause of an apparent problem in the fluid that ignites the rocket’s engines. SpaceX replaced the filter and performed the verification steps to allow for Thursday’s launch.
SpaceX developed its Crew Dragon spacecraft and refined its Falcon 9 rocket as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew program, which competes against Boeing’s Starliner capsule. But Boeing’s The capsule is still under development, with costly delays delaying the launch of operational Starliner flights.
NASA awarded SpaceX additional missions for a total of 14 compared to Boeing’s six.