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SpaceX and NASA will launch a new international crew to the International Space Station

(CNN) – SpaceX and NASA are preparing to launch a new crew to the International Space Station (ISS), continuing public-private efforts to Maintenance of the orbital laboratory with all its employees and the return of astronauts to American soil. This mission will include crew members from around the world: two NASA astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule are expected to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 1:45 a.m. Miami time Monday.

Crew Dragon, the vehicle carrying the astronauts, will separate from the rocket after launch and spend about a day maneuvering in orbit before linking up with the International Space Station. The capsule is scheduled to dock with the space station at 2:38 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

This mission will be the seventh astronaut flight conducted by SpaceX on behalf of NASA since 2020.

The Crew-6 team on board will include NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen, a veteran of three space shuttle missions, and first pilot Warren Hoburg, as well as Sultan Al Neyadi, who will be the UAE’s second astronaut. Space and Russian cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev.

Once Bowen, Hoborg, Fedayev, and El Neyadi are aboard the International Space Station, they will work to handle operations for the SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts who arrive at the space station in October 2022.

They are expected to spend up to six months aboard the orbiting laboratory, conducting science experiments and maintaining the two-decade-old station.

The mission comes as the fifth crew of astronauts currently on the International Space Station dealt with another transportation issue. In December, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that was used to transport two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut to the space station had a coolant leak. After the capsule was deemed unsafe for transporting cosmonauts, the Russian space agency Roscosmos launched a replacement vehicle on February 23. I arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday.

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Work with the Russians

Russian cosmonaut Fedyaev joined Crew-6 as part of a joint carriage agreement It took place last year between NASA and Roscosmos. The agreement aims to ensure continued access to the ISS for both Roscosmos and NASA: if the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule or the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, used to transport people to the ISS, run into difficulties and are decommissioned. The other will be responsible for putting astronauts from both countries into orbit.

This will be Fedyaev’s first mission into space.

Despite the ongoing geopolitical tensions sparked by the invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Russia remains the main partner of the United States on the International Space Station. NASA has repeatedly said that the conflict had no impact on cooperation between the two countries’ space agencies.

“Space cooperation has a long history, and we are setting an example of how life should be on Earth,” Fedyaev said at a press conference on January 24.

Astronauts from SpaceX Crew-6 pose for a photo after arriving at the launch and landing facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on February 21, 2023. From left to right: Roscosmos astronaut Andrei Fedyaev, Sultan Al Neyadi of the UAE and NASA’s Sultan Warren “Woody.” Hoburgh and Stephen Bowen. (Credit: Kim Shiflett/NASA)

And Bowen, the 59-year-old NASA astronaut who will command the Crew-6 mission, also weighed in.

“I’ve been working and training with astronauts for over 20 years, and it’s always been amazing,” he said during the briefing. “Once you get into space, we’ll have one crew and one vehicle, and we all have the same goal.”

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Bowen grew up in Cohasset, Massachusetts and studied engineering, earning a BS in Electrical Engineering from the US Naval Academy in 1986 and a Masters in Ocean Engineering from MIT – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1993.

He also completed military submarine training and served in the Navy before being selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2000, becoming the first submarine officer selected by the space agency.

He previously completed three missions between 2008 and 2011, during NASA’s space shuttle program, and logged a total of more than 47 days in space.

“I just hope my body will hold the memory of 12 years so I can enjoy it,” Bowen said of the Crew-6 release.

Meet the rest of Crew-6

Leading the mission, Hoburgh is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and earned his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, before becoming an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2017.

“We’re going to live six months in space,” Hoburgh told reporters about his expectations for the trip. “I think going back to six months and saying ‘Okay, that’s a long time.'”

Still, Hoburgh added, “I look forward to getting a first look at the dome,” referring to the well-known area on the International Space Station that features a large window that offers panoramic views of Earth.

Al Neyadi, who in 2019 supported Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati astronaut to enter orbit, will now become the first Emirati astronaut to complete a long-term stay in space.

At a press conference in January, Al Neyadi said he planned to bring food from the Middle East to share with his colleagues while he was in space. As a Jiu Jitsu practitioner, he will also wear a kimono, the traditional attire for this martial art.

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“It’s hard to believe this is actually happening,” Al Neyadi said. Press Conference After arriving at Kennedy Space Center on February 21. “I couldn’t ask for more from the team. I think we are ready: physically, mentally and technically.”

What will they do in space?

During their time in space, Crew-6 astronauts will oversee more than 200 science-oriented projects, including investigating how materials burn in a microgravity environment and investigating bacterial samples to be collected from outside the International Space Station.

They will host two other major missions that will connect to the International Space Station during their stay. The first is the Boeing Crew Flight Test, which will mark the first astronaut mission under the Boeing-NASA partnership. The flight, scheduled for April, will carry NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Sunita Williams to the space station, and will be the final stage of a program of tests and demonstrations that Boeing must carry out to certify its Starliner spacecraft for routine missions for astronauts. .

Then, in May, a group of four astronauts will arrive on a mission called AX-2, a privately funded space station tourism mission. That mission, to be carried out in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, will include former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, now a private astronaut with Texas-based space tourism company Axiom, who negotiated and organized the mission.

It will also include Three paying customersSimilar to the AX-1 mission He visited the International Space Station last year.

Bowen said in January that both Boeing’s CFT mission and the AX-2 will be major milestones.

“It’s another paradigm shift,” he said. “Those two events, the big events, in spaceflight that happened during the surge, plus all the other work we have to do, I don’t think we’ll be able to fully absorb it until after the fact.”