One day after launching from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, the four astronauts part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission will dock with the International Space Station on Thursday.
On board includes the first Native American woman to ever go into space. Also, the crew includes the first Russian to launch from the U.S. in more than two decades.
Russian Anna Kikina, Americans Nicole Aunapu Mann and Josh Cassada and Japan’s Koichi Wakata are all part of this mission to the International Space Station.
“Missions like Crew-5 are proof we are living through a golden era of commercial space exploration. It’s a new era powered by the spirit of partnership, fueled by scientific ingenuity, and inspired by the quest for new discoveries,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “During their stay aboard the International Space Station, Crew-5 will conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations, including studies on printing human organs in space and better understanding heart disease. While our eyes are focused upward on the heavens, let us never forget these missions will also better life here on Earth.”
After the foursome reaches the International Space Station, the population on the station will temporarily increase to 11. Within days, four astronauts will depart, leaving the ISS with seven on board.
As the mission name indicates, Wednesday’s flight marked the fifth time a commercial spacecraft flew on a mission to the International Space Station.
Much of their assignment will be focused on health research.
“The International Space Station continues to serve a critical role in helping NASA and our partners understand and maximize the unique attributes of the microgravity environment,” said Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate in Washington. “I am grateful to the many people who worked to ensure a safe Crew-5 launch despite the recent hurricane so the crew can fulfill their mission to the orbiting laboratory.”