SpaceX Crew-3 mission successfully launched: four astronauts will land on the International Space Station tomorrow
The mission, called Crew-3, carried three NASA astronauts-Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron-and one ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer. After multiple launch delays, the group of four finally took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 9:03 EST on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. After successfully elevating the “Crew Dragon” carrying passengers to low Earth orbit, “Falcon 9” turned to Earth and carried out SpaceX’s iconic rocket landing on an unmanned ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Welcome into orbit,” the SpaceX Mission Control Center told the astronauts when the crew was separated from the rest of the rocket. “I hope you enjoy the journey from (Falcon 9). The Crew Dragon will take you away. Here. Safe journey.” The launch supervisor also sent his warm blessing to the crew-“I am very happy to participate in this mission with you. Enjoy your vacation in the starry sky. We will wave our hands when you fly by. Cheers.” Chari responded on the spacecraft, saying that this is “a great journey, better than we thought.”
This is SpaceX’s third manned mission for NASA and is part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). Each mission-including Crew-3–will last about 6 months, SpaceX is responsible for launching the astronauts and bringing them home again. The Crew-3 astronauts are expected to return home sometime in the spring of 2022.
SpaceX’s main way to send people into orbit is the “Crew Dragon”, which is an automatic cabin equipped with stylish seats and interactive touch screens. The capsule is also designed to automatically dock with the space station. At around 7:10 PM Eastern Time on November 11, the spacecraft carrying the Crew-3 team will attempt to dock with the ISS, and then about an hour later, the astronauts will open the hatch and enter the space station.
There, they will be greeted by three crew members already living on the International Space Station: NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian astronauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov. After entering the space station, the seven residents will hold a brief welcome ceremony at around 9:20 EST.
Unfortunately, the crew of Crew-3 missed the opportunity to meet with another group of astronauts on the space station. The Crew-2 crew consisting of four astronauts left the space station on Monday. Originally, Crew-3 should be launched before Crew-2 astronauts return.
In this regard, Chari said to the SpaceX mission control center before launch: “Sometimes, when you try to fly on Halloween, you are greeted with a trick or treat, not candy.”