Two US astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut, and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates were aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule that securely docked at the International Space Station (ISS) early on Friday. They will begin a six-month science mission there.
A little after 1:40 a.m. EST (0640 GMT) on Friday, nearly 25 hours after taking off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, the self-flying spacecraft known as Endeavour docked at the space station.
According to a live NASA webcast of the rendezvous, the coupling was confirmed as the ISS and capsule flew together at 17,500 mph (28,164 kph) about 250 miles (240 km) above Earth across the coast of East Africa.
The four-person team was tasked with carrying out more than 200 experiments and technological demonstrations within the space station, including investigations into human cell growth in zero gravity and the management of combustible materials.
Some of the research, according to NASA’s Artemis program, the agency’s successor to Apollo, will help pave the way for upcoming long-duration human journeys to the Moon and beyond.
Together with carrying out maintenance and repairs inside the station, the ISS crew is also in charge of getting everything ready for the arrival and departure of other astronauts and cargo missions.
The mission, known as Crew 6, is the sixth long-duration ISS team that SpaceX has flown for NASA since the company’s launch of the first US people in orbit in May 2020. Musk is the CEO of both Twitter and the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla.