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SpaceX capsule docks at space station with international astronauts and 1 cosmonaut

After a 29-hour journey, a SpaceX capsule carrying a multinational crew of astronauts connected with the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday.

Crew-5 is a joint mission of NASA, SpaceX, and their government partners all around the globe, including Russia. This was despite growing tensions surrounding the invasion by Ukraine. At 12:01 p.m., the mission was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. ET on Wednesday.

Crew Dragon spent one day climbing slowly and methodically toward the space station. The spacecraft is completely autonomous and used its onboard thrusters as it approached the ISS. At 5:01 p.m., it made its first physical contact with the ISS. ET.

After securing a tight seal between the SpaceX spacecraft & the ISS, the hatch that separated the capsule & space station was opened. The spacecraft officially joined the ISS.

As it is customary for astronauts to arrive at the ISS, they were able to transmit a video message to ground personnel that was broadcast on NASA’s Livestream.

Crew members are astronauts Nicole Mann (NASA) and Josh Cassada (JAXA), or Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and cosmonaut Anna Kikina (Russia’s Roscosmos).

Samantha Cristoforetti from the European Space Agency, who was an astronaut on a previous SpaceX mission, to the ISS, and became the first female commander of a space station, received them.

It’s amazing to have you guys aboard. This crew is special because it’s the first time we have a Russian Cosmonaut flying on a Crew Dragon. So, a special welcome to Anna (Kikina), Cristoforetti stated.

Mann is the first Native American woman to fly to space. This marks a historic moment.

She said, “Look Mom, I’m finally going to space!” on the Livestream dispatch from ISS. Mann also serves as Crew-5 mission commander. This makes her the first woman to hold such a position for a SpaceX mission.

Kikina is also enjoying her first spaceflight. She shared the moment.

Kikina said, “We overflow in emotions.”

Shortly after her dispatch, a Russian translator assumed control and relayed, “I’m extremely glad that I am here.”

Kikina added, via the translator: “Many people are working hard and will continue working hard to ensure… that our joint (crewed), space exploration will continue to exist to develop further.” She said, “We’re here and live proof of that.”

This flight was part of a ride-sharing agreement between Roscosmos and NASA in July. Even though geopolitical tensions have reached a fever pitch with the war in Ukraine, NASA and Roscosmos have repeatedly stated that their partnership with Roscosmos is essential for the station’s continued operations and valuable scientific research.

On Wednesday, Sergei Krikalev (executive director of Human Space Flight Programs at Roscosmos) made comments on the importance of the US-Russian relationship during a news conference.

Krikalev stated that “We just continue to do what was started many decades ago in 1975 when Apollo-Soyuz crew collaborated,” referring to an in-space meetup in 1975, which became a symbol for post-Cold War cooperation between Russia and the US. “Now, we continue that.”

Crew-5 astronauts will spend approximately five months in space. They will be conducting spacewalks to maintain and repair the station’s exterior as well as more than 200 science experiments during their stay.

NASA stated that “Experiments will include research on printing human organs into space, understanding lunar fuel systems, and better understanding heart disease.”

This is the sixth crewed space mission SpaceX, a private company led by Elon Musk, is carrying out for NASA. SpaceX and NASA signed a $2.6 million deal almost a decade ago to transfer all transport to and from the ISS to SpaceX so NASA could concentrate on deeper explorations of the solar system.

Boeing, an aerospace giant, also signed a similar contract. However, it is still trying to get its commercial spacecraft Starliner up and running. The company could make its first crewed flight in 2023.

NASA has been expanding its partnership with SpaceX and now includes 15 crewed missions valued at more than $4.9billion.

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