SpaceX this morning launched its third crew onto the International Space Station, reusing a rocket and crew capsule for the first time in a human mission.
The Crew-2 mission took off from Platform 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9:49 a.m. local time, after being delayed for a day by adverse weather conditions along the flight path.
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet becomes the first European to fly a SpaceX Crew Dragon. He is accompanied by the Americans Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur and the Japanese Akihiko Hoshide.
“And here are four astronauts from three different countries of (this mission) Crew-2 now on their way to the one and only International Space Station”, said a commentator from SpaceX.
– Conflicts France (@ConflitsFrance) April 23, 2021
This is the third time that SpaceX will send humans to the ISS under its multi-billion dollar contract with NASA under the Commercial Crew program.
The first mission, a test flight called Demo-2, took place last year and ended nine years of America’s reliance on Russian rockets for trips to the ISS after the shuttle program ended. spatial.
During its six-month mission, the team will be responsible for carrying out around 100 scientific experiments. Among the favorites, according to Thomas Pesquet, the examination of the effects of weightlessness on brain organoids (mini-brains created in the laboratory).
Scientists hope this research can help space agencies prepare for missions that will expose teams to the hardships of space for long periods of time, and even help fight brain disease on Earth.