On Sunday, the US space agency (NASA) will send three American and one German astronauts to the International Space Station in a SpaceX rocket, where they will spend six months in Earth’s orbit. This is the third regular manned mission that SpaceX has provided for NASA.
The crew of the mission, called “Cro-3”, will replace the four astronauts in the “Cro-2” mission, who have been on the International Space Station since April, including Frenchman Thomas Pesquet.
After a short handover period between the two crews, “Crow 2” will return to Earth “in early November,” according to NASA, which did not give a specific date.
The “Falcon 9” rocket will launch Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 02:21 local time (0621 GMT), and the “Dragon” capsule carrying astronauts will be placed on its top.
This will be the first flight for this prototype capsule, called Endurance.
About 22 hours later, the spacecraft docks with the International Space Station, which includes astronauts from NASA Raja Chari, Kayla Baron and Tom Marshborn, as well as German astronaut Matthias Maurer from the European Space Agency. The four astronauts arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday.
On Thursday, the four astronauts will conduct a general exercise on the launch process, during which they will wear their space suits and take their place inside the capsule, and a series of audits will be conducted to verify the spacecraft’s readiness for launch.
The American Tom Marshbourne will undertake his third mission to space, while the other three astronauts will undertake their first space missions.