SpaceX successfully launched another crew of four astronauts on their way to the International Space Station. Astronauts from NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 are in orbit following their launch to the International Space Station aboard the third commercial crew rotation mission on the microgravity laboratory.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket thrust the Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft with NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and astronaut Matthias Maurer from the European Space Agency (ESA) into orbit to start a 6-month long science mission on the space station. After several launch delays, the international crew of astronauts was launched at 9:03 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) Wednesday from the Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. After successfully carrying the Crew Dragon carrying the passengers into low Earth orbit, the Falcon 9 rocket returned to Earth, successfully landing on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX’s primary way of transporting people to orbit is the Crew Dragon spaceship. The spaceship is an automated cabin fitted with sleek seats and interactive touchscreens. The capsule is designed to dock automatically with the ISS without any input from the crew on board.
The launch is SpaceX’s third operational crewed mission for NASA as a part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Each crewed mission, including Crew-3, is slated to last for roughly six months, with SpaceX responsible for launching the astronauts and bringing them back home. NASA’s four-member Crew-3 astronauts are expected to come home sometime in spring 2022.