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Timeline, how to watch this historic ISS mission

On October 5, SpaceX will launch another passenger mission, making history in the process: it will include: cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will become the first Russian to take a ride on a private American spacecraft.

Crew-5, the latest commercial crew mission, will launch no earlier than October 5 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, docking at the International Space Station within the next 24 hours.

Along with Kikina, the rocket will also carry two NASA astronauts, Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata. The crew is destined for the International Space Station, where they will conduct experiments in microgravity. in April, space.com reported That SpaceX’s Crew-4 astronaut mission zipped to the ISS in less than 16 hours – fastest run yet.

These astronauts will take off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket aboard the Crew Dragon Endurance capsule. Endurance was used in a similar mission, Crew-3, in November 2021.

In keeping with space travel tradition, the astronauts of the commercial crew named their Dragon capsules. The name Endurance was chosen by the Crew-3 astronauts and has a double meaning.

According to American astronaut Raja Chari, they chose it in honor of the endurance of the NASA and SpaceX crews who built the capsule and facilitated its flight. The name also refers to the ship used in Shackleton’s infamous Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914.

WHAT WILL CREW-5 DO AT THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION?

The SpaceX Crew Dragon will dock with the ISS in 2019.NASA/SpaceX

NASA says it is preparing a variety of experiments for the crew to complete in the unique microgravity environment that is the ISS, including print human organs in spaceunderstanding fuel systems that operate on the moon, and a better understanding of heart disease,” according to NASA.

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“With Crew-5, we’re looking at a mission of about five to six months. Overall, we have about 250 to 300 experiments for the crew,” Joel Montalbano, NASA’s ISS program manager, said at a news conference. NASA also says it is looking forward to upcoming spacewalks.

SPACEX CREW-5 LAUNCH DATE, TIME AND SCHEDULE

The Crew-5 mission will launch no earlier than October 5 at noon. Originally planned to explode in early September, it was moved to September 29 after Falcon 9’s booster was damaged. Hurricane Ian further delayed the launch until October 3, and now October 5 is the tentative launch date, with October 7 as the backup date.

The Crew-5 launcher will consist of Crew Dragon capsule Endurance on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 is launched from pad LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. To see the spectacle for yourself, you can watch the launch on both NASA TV or SpaceX’s website.

WHAT IS INTEGRATED CREW AND WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH CREW-5?

US astronauts can participate in Soyuz launches, according to the Integrated Crew Agreement.VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images

With tensions at a record high between Russia and the United States on the war in Ukraine, it may seem like an odd time to launch the first cosmonaut on a commercial crew flight. But this move is part of NASA’s “integrated crew” strategy for the International Space Station.

On July 15, NASA and Roscosmos officials signed the highly anticipated Integrated Crew Agreement in Moscow. This agreement will allow Russian cosmonauts to fly to the ISS on Crew Dragon flights and American astronauts to launch on Soyuz launches every year.

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NASA says the Dragon flights will provide safer access to the International Space Station. The agency wants more options to reach the International Space Station, as it allows individual points of failure. Notably, the signing of this agreement coincided with Vladimir Putin’s removal from the previous one Roscosmos head, Dmitry Rogozin.

Rogozin was a longtime antagonist of NASA, known for his often erratic use of social media. And a month later, Russia announced that Roscosmos will leave the ISS after 2024. If this move takes effect, it will mean that all future astronauts going to the space station will have to use other launch providers, including SpaceX.

Who are the crew of Crew-5?

Crew-5 will bring 4 trained astronauts from the United States, Japan and Russia to the International Space Station.

The astronauts aboard Crew-5 are:

  1. NASA astronaut Nicole Mann as spacecraft commander
  2. NASA astronaut Josh Cassada as a pilot
  3. JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata as a mission specialist
  4. Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina as a mission specialist

One of the two NASA astronauts, Nicole Mann, will become the spacecraft commander of the Crew-5 mission. As commander, Mann is responsible for the overall success of the mission and the safety of the crew.

Although this is Mann’s first trip to space, she has an extensive career as a military pilot, flying 25 different types of aircraft in 47 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the first time a commercial crew has had a female commander, and she is one of the three women in the race for the first woman on the moon.

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The second NASA astronaut, Josh Cassada, becomes the pilot for Crew-5. As a pilot, Cassada will maneuver the Dragon capsule to coordinate with the guidance systems. Like Mann, Cassada was in the… army, and served in 23 combat missions. Mann also studied physics as a graduate student at the University of Rochester and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata is the only crew member to have been to space before. Wakata has been on four Space Shuttle missions and one Soyuz mission, making this his fifth trip to space. As one of Crew-5’s two mission specialists, Wakata will perform a variety of tasks on the Dragon capsule.

According to NASA, the mission specialists will “work closely with the commander and pilot to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and reentry phases of the flight.” Wakata was also Japan’s first commander of the International Space Station in 2014.

Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina becomes Crew-5’s second mission specialist. Kikina is not only the first cosmonaut aboard a commercial crew flight, but she is also the only active female cosmonaut in Roscosmos. Kikina will perform a similar set of tasks as Wakata on the Dragon capsule. In the future, Kikina’s role in Crew-5 could open the door for future US-Russia cooperation in space.

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