On March 2, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The international crew — consisting of NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev — blasted into orbit onboard the Dragon spacecraft named Endeavour.
This marks the agency’s sixth rotation mission to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Crew-6 will join Expedition 68 and be part of an 11-member team that will live and work in space for a short time before the Crew-5 members return to Earth.
The crew’s mission is to conduct experiments, including examining how materials burn in microgravity, research on heart, brain and cartilage functions through tissue chip technology and collecting microbial samples from outside the space station.
SpaceX and the NASA Commercial Crew Program continue sharing social media updates.
SpaceX tweeted “Liftoff of Crew-6” with a launch video.
Liftoff of Crew-6! pic.twitter.com/BucEYeIIFe
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 2, 2023
“Crew-6 will be busy aboard the International Space Station, conducting over 200 experiments that will help us to prepare for missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, as well as improve life here on Earth,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing all that they accomplish.”
The Crew-6 launch was initially scheduled for Monday but was delayed due to a clogged filter in a ground system. After replacing the filter and verifying all the steps required for a successful launch, SpaceX was able to blast off without any issues on Thursday.
While SpaceX has successfully completed multiple launches since May 2020, Boeing’s Starliner capsule remains in development after costly delays pushed back the start of operational flights.
Dragon is expected to arrive at the International Space Station in about 24 hours. The launch signifies another successful step forward for commercial space travel as it provides an opportunity for international collaboration beyond our stratosphere while pushing us closer to SpaceX’s ultimate goal of reaching Mars before 2030.