The mission by NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 spacecraft had a successful start on Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, after having called off its lift-off two minutes to the launch on Monday.
NASA has a high level of security, with helicopter, military car and security dogs watching the environment. The atmosphere during the preparations was positive and the teams have been doing all the tests needed prior to the start.
The Crew-6 members walked out the second time to say goodbye to their families before they were taken to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in Tesla cars.
The four-man team that will be aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft Crew-6 was initially scheduled to launch February 26 but due to weather conditions it changed to the following day. On February 27, the mission was scrubbed two minutes prior to the launch because of technical difficulties – the ground system igniting the Falcon’s engines did not work properly. The duration of the mission will be six months.
Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev will join United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg on the Crew-6 mission.
Fedyaev will be the second Russian cosmonaut to board the US Crew Dragon spacecraft as part of the International Space Station (ISS) integrated flights agreement.
Earlier in the day, Roscosmos said that the program of cross-flights to the International Space Station has been expanded by one mission, and it will take place in the first half of 2024 on the US spacecraft Crew Dragon.
The agreement between Roscosmos and NASA was signed in July 2022. In the fall, the first flight took place, transporting US astronaut Frank Rubio to the ISS on a Soyuz MS-22. A couple of weeks later, Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina went to the ISS on the Crew Dragon. On March 2, 2023, Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev will go to the ISS on Crew Dragon (Crew-6 mission), and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara will go on Soyuz MS-24 in the second half of 2023.