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SpaceX Endeavour's crew arrive at KSC ahead of launch
SpaceX Endeavour's crew arrive at KSC ahead of launch
by Paul Godfrey
Washington DC (UPI) Feb 21, 2023

An international team of astronauts and scientists arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, ahead of a six-month science mission to the International Space Station set to blast off on Sunday.

Crew-6 comprises two NASA astronauts, mission commander Stephen Bowen and pilot Warren Hoburg, along with mission specialists Sultan Alneyadi from the United Arab Emirates and Andrey Fedyaev, an astronaut with the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Upon arriving, Hoburg told reporters it was a thrill to finally have reached this moment.

"When my class showed up at NASA, that was three years before Demo 2," Hoburg said. "We weren't launching from Florida when I showed up at NASA and now here we are on a beautiful day. We have an amazing crew and an amazing team."

Alneyadi said it was a privilege to be part of the first long-duration mission in UAE history.

"When we went by the launchpad and saw the preparation going, that's when it became real," Alneyadi said. "Our region is thirsty to learn more and we will be ambassadors and come back with knowledge to share with everyone."

The flight of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft Endeavour, scheduled to lift off from Complex 39A at 2:07 a.m. EST Sunday, is the sixth ISS crew rotation with SpaceX and the seventh manned flight of Dragon as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

A Falcon 9 rocket will lift the spacecraft into orbit, where it is scheduled to dock to the space-facing port of the station's Harmony module at 2:54 a.m. EST on Monday.

Crew-6 arrives on site from either nine days' home quarantine or NASA's Astronaut Quarantine Facility at Johnson Space Center in Houston, in readiness for NASA and SpaceX to commence the final mission milestones, including preparing of a first-flight Falcon 9 booster, which will lift the Dragon into orbit.

After all rocket and spacecraft system checkouts are complete and all components are certified for flight, teams will mate Dragon to the Falcon 9 rocket in SpaceX's hangar.

The integrated spacecraft and rocket will then be rolled to the launchpad and raised to vertical for a static fire test and dry dress rehearsal with the crew prior to launch.

After Monday's docking, the Crew-6 crewmates will be welcomed inside the station by the seven-member crew of Expedition 68.

Following a handover on the space station, NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 crew members will undock from the space station and return to Earth.

NASA said Crew-6 will conduct "new and exciting scientific research," including 200 experiments, technology demonstrations and maintenance activities aboard the microgravity laboratory to help prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth.

Among these will be studies of how particular materials burn in microgravity, tissue chip research on heart, brain and cartilage functions and an investigation that will collect microbial samples from the outside the space station.  

During their stay, Crew-6 will see the arrival of cargo spacecraft, including the SpaceX Dragon and the Roscosmos Progress.

Crew-6 also is expected to welcome the agency's Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts and the Axiom Mission-2 crew during their mission.

Bowen and Hoburg were assigned to the Crew-6 mission in December 2021 and began working and training for their flight on SpaceX's human spacecraft and their stay aboard the space station.

Fedyaev and Alneyadi were added as the third and fourth crew members in July 2022. Crew-6 will spend up to six months at the space station before returning to Earth.

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Washington DC (UPI) Feb 18, 2023
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