A NASA astronaut and 3 fellow internationals blast off and head to the space station

A day late, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying a NASA commander, a Danish copilot, a surgeon, a Japanese astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut blasted into orbit early Saturday and blasted off after the International Space Station on a six-month tour of duty.

With a Marine Corps helicopter test pilot Yasmine Moqbeli With ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen observing cockpit displays, the Falcon 9 crew rocket blasted to life at 3:27 a.m. EST and ascended majestically away from historic Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying an international crew of three men and one woman blast off from the Kennedy Space Center to begin a 29-hour journey to the International Space Station.

William Harwood/CBS News

The Falcon 9 rocket took off on a northeasterly trajectory that matched the space station’s path, accelerating smoothly as its nine first-stage engines consumed its payload of refined kerosene and liquid oxygen fuel, resulting in an all-night fiery spectacle for residents and tourists.

Two and a half minutes after liftoff, the first stage ditched itself for a successful landing at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station while the second stage continued to orbit.

The second stage engine shut down as planned nine minutes after launch, and three minutes after that, the Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched to fly on its own.

“Hello Crew-7,” SpaceX’s anonymous launch manager said over the radio. “On behalf of the entire SpaceX launch and recovery team, I am honored to welcome the first ever fully international crew of the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. I wish you well, Crew-7.”

“Thanks for the trip, it was great!” Moqbeli replied. “On behalf of Andy, Satoshi, (Konstantin) and myself, we would like to thank the many people who have brought us to this unique moment. We may have four crew members from four different countries – Denmark, Japan, Russia, and the USA – but we are a united team with a unified mission. …Go to Crew-7! Great trip!”

A sloth (lower right) floats around the Crew Dragon capsule, the zero-gravity indicator chosen by the Mogensen family. Games like this are a tradition on Crew Dragon’s journeys.


If all goes well, Mugbeli, Mugensen, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov will be able to catch up with the space station early Sunday, matching the lab’s altitude of 260 miles and speed of 17,000 miles per hour.

Continuing its robotic approach, Crew Dragon is expected to dock in the space-facing port of the Harmony module at 8:39 a.m. local time, 29 hours after launch.

SpaceX has now launched eight Crew Dragons to the space station for NASA — one test flight and seven operational crew rotation missions — along with two privately funded commercial flights with non-government astronauts.

NASA and SpaceX had planned to launch the Crew-7 mission as early as Fridaybut the flight was canceled six hours before launch to resolve the “open papers” needed to verify that the oxygen valve in the Crew Dragon’s life support system would operate with the required margin of safety.

Another problem arose during the final stages of Saturday’s countdown: A sensor reading indicated a possible nitrogen tetroxide leak in the Crew Dragon’s propulsion system. Nitrogen tetroxide, better known as NTO, is a highly toxic chemical, but with just minutes after the leak, SpaceX engineers concluded that the leak was very small and posed no threat to the crew or the six-month mission.

Crew-7 fliers plan to spend six months aboard the International Space Station. From left to right: Cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, ESA Astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Commander Yasmine Mokbeli, and Japanese Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa.


Once at the station, Moqbeli and her colleagues will be greeted aboard by Commander Sergei Prokopyev, Dmitry Petlin, and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, who blasted off to the lab nearly a year ago aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. Also on hand: Crew Six Commander Stephen Bowen, Pilot Woody Hoburgh, Emirati Astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, and Cosmonaut Andrei Vediaev.

Moqbeli and company replace Bowen and his Crew-6 teammates. It launched on the 2nd of March Bowen Crew It plans to detach from the station after its five-day handover, and land off the coast of Florida the next day to finish a six-month mission.

Hoburg had some tips for Crew-7 replacements.

“They’re going to be very focused on launching, rendezvous, and docking,” he said from orbit on Wednesday. “Once they get here, the schedules change completely. We all feel like we want to go 100 miles an hour and use our training and be really effective right away. But we have a long way to go.

“And so we hope they have some time to relax, enjoy themselves, and get into the groove of living and working here on the space station.”

Two weeks after the departure of Crew-6, Russia plans to launch the Soyuz MS-24/70S spacecraft carrying NASA cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chubb and Laurel O’Hara to the space station. It is expected to take off on September 15th.

The current crew of the International Space Station (from left to right): Cosmonaut Andrei Vidyaev, NASA astronauts Frank Rubio and Stephen Bowen, Station Commander Sergey Prokopev, Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, Astronaut Dmitry Petlin, and NASA astronaut Woody Hoburg. The Crew-7 astronauts will replace Bowen, Hoburgh, Allnywady and Vidyaev, who plan to return to Earth after a five-day delivery to close out a six-month mission.


Kononenko’s crew will replace Prokopyev, Betilin and Rubio, who plan to close the marathon 371-day mission with a landing in Kazakhstan on September 27. They were launched on September 21, 2022, and were originally planning to return home in March, but their Soyuz craft suffered a Large coolant leak in December.

a Soyuz replacement It was launched in February, but the crew’s stay aboard the station was extended by six months to return the Russian flight sequence to its normal schedule. As a result, Rubio will set a new single-flight record in the United States, surpassing the astronaut Mark Vande Hay’s current mark of 355 days On September 11th.

The late cosmonaut Valery Polyakov holds the world record for the longest single spaceflight – 437 days – which was set aboard the Russian space station Mir in 1994-1995. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly was the first American to log nearly a year in space, followed by Vande Hay and now Rubio.

“Frank thought when he flew into space he was going to be here for six months,” Hoburgh said. “And as part of his mission, he found out it took a year. It was great to work with him. Frank makes huge sacrifices, being away from his family for so long, and just wants recognition for the service he’s given us aboard the space station.”

Kononenko and Chubb also plan to spend a year aboard the International Space Station. Next March, another Soyuz spacecraft will launch carrying veteran commander Oleg Novitsky, Tracy Caldwell Dyson of NASA, and Belarusian researcher Marina Vasilievskaya.

Novitsky, Vasilievskaya and O’Hara will return to Earth in about 10 days. Kononenko, Chubb and Caldwell-Dyson will meet together in September.

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