Miami (EFE).- The four crew members of NASA’s Crew-6 mission left Cape Canaveral (USA) early this Thursday for the International Space Station (ISS), aboard a SpaceX Dragon ship.
At the scheduled time, 0.34 local time (5.34 GMT), a Falcon 9 rocket with Dragon Endeavor at the top, took off from platform 39A of the Kennedy Space Center for about eight minutes later to separate and the ship to continue the journey on its own. at about 17,500 miles per hour (over 28,000 km/h), .
On board Endeavour, which is completing its fourth mission with Crew-6, are Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, from the US agency NASA, commander and pilot of the mission, respectively, and specialists Sultan Alneyadi, from the space agency of the United Arab Emirates, and Andrey Fedyaev, of the Russian Roscosmos.
As usual, less than ten minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9 reusable part successfully returned to SpaceX’s “Just Read the Instructions” platform in the Atlantic.
“That was a great trip,” an emotional Hoburg told mission controllers, while Alneyadi, after a few words in Arabic, noted that this mission is the beginning of an interesting era.
The private firm’s ship is expected to arrive at the ISS and dock in the Harmony module at 1:17 p.m. (6:17 GMT) on Friday. A little more than two hours later they will be received by the members of Expedition 68 from the orbital laboratory.
After the takeoff of the mission, the deputy director of the Kennedy Space Center, Kelvin Manning, highlighted in statements to NASA TV that today’s launch is a good reflection of what the alliance between the Government, private industry and the international partners.
“And we are just getting started,” said the manager, who alluded to the 90 launches planned for this year from Cape Canaveral, among which he highlighted the one that will send the CFT test mission to the ISS, the first manned mission of the Starliner spacecraft from Boeing.
Successful takeoff on the third attempt
Crew-6 was finally able to take off today after two postponements caused by technical reasons.
The launch was originally scheduled for last Sunday but was pushed back to Monday for additional thermal analysis of the panels on the outside of the capsule, as well as a check of some helium canisters on the Falcon 9 rocket.
However, last Monday, less than three minutes before liftoff, it had to be aborted due to a suddenly detected problem in the triethylaluminum triethylboron (TEA-TEB) flow that is used to start the rocket’s first stage engines.
NASA and SpaceX determined that a ground filter in the TEA-TEB pass-through system was clogged and replaced it, purged the tubing with nitrogen, and verified that the entire system was clean and ready for the new launch attempt.
Except for Bowen, who between 2008 and 2011 participated in three expeditions aboard NASA space shuttles, for the other three crew members this is their first trip into space.
More than 200 scientific experiments and technical tasks
The Crew-6 crew will stay on the ISS for about six months, during which time they will carry out more than 200 scientific experiments in microgravity and maintenance tasks.
Some of the experiments entrusted to Crew-6 have to do with combustion in “microgravity” and the effects of space flight on the immune system and organs of humans.
To study the effects that manned missions can have in space, Crew-6 astronauts will venture outside the ISS to collect samples from the station’s vents.
The goal is to see if the ISS is releasing microorganisms into space and, if so, how many and how far they could travel.
The results of this particular experiment could alter the design of future space missions and astronaut suits to limit possible contamination.
Crew-6, like NASA’s other Space X missions, will pave the way “for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and to improve life on Earth,” according to NASA spokespersons.
The US Space Agency plans to send a manned mission to the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis program.