The crew of SpaceX’s Crew-5 mission has arrived safely on board the International Space Station

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The crew of SpaceX’s Crew-5 mission has arrived safely on board the International Space Station

The mission Crew-5 took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 5 at 4:00 p.m. GMT. The rocket Falcon 9 had the objective to send the Crew Dragon Endurance capsule to the International Space Station (ISS). After a 29-hour journey, the capsule was able to catch up with the space lab and dock safely.

On October 6, at 21:01 GMT, Endurance is coming into contact with the forward docking port of the ISS Harmony module. The encounter took place over the Atlantic Ocean, off the west coast of Africa. The docking process was completed in 10 minutes.

The launch of Crew-5
Credits NASA/Joel Kowsky

At 22:45 GMT, the airlock between Endurance and the ISS was opened. This allowed the 4 Crew-5 astronauts to return to their place of residence for the next 5 months.

The crew of Crew-5

The crew of the Crew-5 mission is made up of the NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassadaof Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakataand some Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina. The Crew-5 mission is quite exceptional since three of the crew members, i.e. Mann, Cassada and Kikina, are traveling in space for the first time. For Wakata, this is his 5th space mission.

But what is even more exceptional with the Crew-5 mission is the fact that Mann is the first Native American woman to go into spaceand there is also Kikina who is the first Russian cosmonaut to travel in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

A new rocket

As for the equipment that was used during the launch, the Endurance capsule has already been used to transport the mission crew Crew-3. The capsule was refurbished and tested before Crew-5 launched, and it went to space with a combination of old and new components. Among the latter, there is among others a new heat shield, new parachutes and a new fairing.

On the side of the Falcon 9 rocket, the first floor which was used to launch the Crew-5 mission was brand new, although SpaceX has been known to reuse its boosters. According to Steve Stich, head of commercial human spaceflight at NASA, they appreciate when they can use new boosters. According to him, when SpaceX adds a new booster to its fleet, the booster receives security enhancementswhich is much better than the boosters that have already flown.

Currently, 11 people are on board the ISS. However, that will soon change as in about a week, the crew of Crew-4 is scheduled to return to Earth.


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