Onboard the spacecraft were three NASA astronauts and one astronaut of the European Space Agency.
Four astronauts, three Americans, and a German arrived onboard the International Space Station on Thursday after the Crew Dragon capsule successfully docked with the orbital station. The astronauts’ mission will last for six months.
The docking occurred about 21 hours after the capsule with a team of astronauts onboard was launched Wednesday evening using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The docking occurred at about 18:30 on the time of the East Coast of the United States, at a time when the Crew Dragon – Endeavour capsule and the ISS were at an altitude of about 420 km above the eastern Caribbean Sea, NASA reported.
Endeavour’s crew consisted of three American astronauts – 44-year-old commander Raja Chari, 61-year-old pilot Tom Marshburn and 34-year-old Kayla Barron, as well as 51-year-old German astronaut Matthias Maurer, an employee of the European Space Agency.
Upon arrival, the crew conducted a series of routine leak checks and sealed the space between the spacecraft, then opened the hatch leading to the space station.
Onboard the ISS, the astronauts were met by Russian cosmonauts Peter Dubrov and Oleg Novitsky and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who earlier this year went on a flight with the Russians on a rocket launched by Roscosmos.
Chari, a test pilot who served in the U.S. Air Force, and Barron, a U.S. Navy submarine officer and nuclear engineer, were in space for the first time.
Endeavour’s deputy commander is astronaut Marshburn, a doctor and former NASA flight surgeon who has already been on two missions to the ISS and has gone into outer space four times. Matthias Maurer, a materials engineer by profession, also made his first space flight today.
Both Chari and Barron were part of a group of 18 astronauts selected for upcoming NASA missions under the Artemis program aimed at returning people to the moon at the end of this decade, more than half a century after the completion of the previous American lunar Apollo program.
The team of astronauts who arrived on the ISS on Thursday was officially designated as “Crew-3” – the third full-fledged “operational” crew that was sent by NASA and SpaceX to the space station after a test flight with two astronauts in May 2020.