SpaceX to launch four astronauts to ISS for Nasa this week

The mission was delayed by two days after Hurricane Ian struck Florida

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SpaceX is set to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station on October 5 from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

The Nasa/SpaceX Crew-5 mission includes two astronauts from Nasa, one from Japan, and a Russian cosmonaut, who will blast off on the Falcon 9 rocket.

Hurricane Ian delayed the mission to the International Space Station by two days. It is now slated for launch on Wednesday at 8pm GST (4pm UTC).

“Nasa and SpaceX once again are gearing up to launch crew on an American rocket and spacecraft to the International Space Station to perform science, technology demonstrations and maintenance activities aboard the microgravity laboratory,” the US space agency said.

“Crew-5 will conduct new and exciting scientific research in areas including cardiac to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth.

“Experiments will include studies on printing human organs in space, understanding fuel systems operating on the Moon and better understanding heart disease.”

This is SpaceX’s fifth flight for Nasa under the space agency’s Commercial Crew Programme.

The initiative has allowed government astronauts and private citizens to launch from US soil again, after depending on Russia’s Soyuz rocket for more than a decade.

The Crew-5 members include commander Nicole Mann, pilot Josh Cassada, mission specialists Koichi Wakata of Japan’s space agency Jaxa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina.

Their Dragon spacecraft will dock with the floating science laboratory about 29 hours after launch.

SpaceX’s next flight for Nasa – the Crew-6 mission – is slated for launch in spring.

It includes UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who will serve as a mission specialist on board the Dragon spacecraft.

He will spend six months on the space station carrying out several science experiments, as part of the Arab world’s first long-duration space mission.

He will launch with colleagues from Nasa and Russia, including spacecraft commander Stephen Bowen, pilot Warren Hoburg and mission specialist Andrey Fedyaev.

SpaceX is working with other private US companies that work towards making space accessible to a wider international community.

It sells seats to Axiom Space, a Houston-based space infrastructure company that arranges trips to the ISS for clients.

The UAE secured its upcoming space trip through Axiom.

Saudi Arabia secured a trip to the ISS for two of its astronauts through Axiom – a mission that is expected to launch in 2023.

Turkey also landed a deal with Axiom and is sending its first astronaut next year to coincide with the country’s 100th anniversary.

Updated: October 03, 2022, 1:25 PM