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NASA's SpaceX Crew-8 mission docks with International Space Station
NASA's SpaceX Crew-8 mission docks with International Space Station
by Darryl Coote
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 5, 2024

A SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully docked with the International Space Station early Tuesday, more than 24 hours after it launched from the Florida coast with three American astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut onboard.

The spacecraft docked with ISS' forward-facing Harmony module at 2:28 a.m. EST.

The opening of the vehicle's hatch is expected to take less than two hours after docking, allowing for several procedures, including the pressurization of the vestibule and checking for leaks, to be completed.

The Dragon capsule launched as the payload of a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 10:53 p.m. EST on Sunday.

Aboard is Crew-8: NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt and Jeanette Epps as well as Alexander Grebenkin of Russia's Roscosmos space agency.

They will be relieving Crew-7 of its duties. They have been on ISS since August.

Once the hatch is open, the Crew-8 quartet will enter ISS where they will be greeted by the seven-member Expedition 70 crew and a welcome ceremony will be held.

After several days of what NASA calls "handover activities," the four members of NASA's Crew-7 will then board the spacecraft and head back to Earth, ending their six-month mission and starting Crew-8's on the orbital laboratory.

While on ISS, Crew-8 is expected to conduct more than 200 scientific experiments, including medical experiments, and technology demonstrations.

Some of their experiments include the use of stem cells in the study of degenerative diseases, NASA said.

The trip was the first time into space for Dominick, Epps and Grebenkin. Barratt has now been to space on four separate occasions.

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