Crew-7 astronauts reach ISS aboard SpaceX Dragon capsule

28 Aug 2023

From left: Konstantin Borisov, Andreas Mogensen, Jasmin Moghbeli and Satoshi Furukawa. Image: Bill Stafford and Robert Markowitz/NASA

Andreas Mogensen of the ESA is one of four astronauts to enter the ISS yesterday. Four previous crew members will return to Earth in a few days.

Four astronauts have successfully boarded the International Space Station (ISS) after being flown into space by a SpaceX rocket over the weekend as part of the NASA Crew-7 mission.

Aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule, named Endurance, the four astronauts arrived at the ISS yesterday (27 August) to join seven other crew members of the space station. Four members of the previous Crew-6 are expected to return to Earth in a few days.

Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency (ESA) is one of the four latest crew members to arrive at the ISS. He is joined by Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA, Satoshi Furukawa of Japan’s national space agency JAXA and Konstantin Borisov of Russia’s Roscosmos.

This makes Crew-7 the most nationally diverse SpaceX mission to date. They were first launched into space with the help of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3.27am ET on Saturday.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember,” Moghbeli said last month. “One of the things I’m most excited about is looking back at our beautiful planet. Everyone I’ve talked to who has flown already has said that was kind of a life-changing perspective.”

SpaceX, a private space travel company founded by Elon Musk, has been increasingly collaborating with NASA and other national space agencies. Last month, its Falcon 9 rocket helped launch the ESA Euclid mission to study dark matter and energy in the universe.

Earlier in the year, SpaceX hired NASA’s Kathy Lueders, the first woman to have led the US space agency’s human spaceflight programme. Leuders is now a general manager at SpaceX, working at the company’s Starbase campus in Boca Chica, Texas.

The company is in the process of building Starship, the largest rocket ever built, which is expected to launch in the near future and eventually be safe for human spaceflight.

Previously scheduled for Friday, the latest Crew-7 launch was pushed back so mission managers could confirm environmental control and life support systems were properly functioning.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson said that the crew will conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations aboard the ISS to “prepare for missions to the moon, Mars and beyond, all while benefitting humanity on Earth”.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic