SpaceX prepares to send four astronauts to the International Space Station
SpaceX will send four astronauts to the International Space Station on Thursday for its second routine mission as the United States resumes manned flights into space, and for the first time with a European on board: Frenchman Thomas Peskett.
The takeoff is scheduled for 06:11 (10:11 GMT) on April 22 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The mission, named Crew-2, includes two American astronauts, Shane Kimrose and Megan McArthur, the Japanese Akihiko Hoshide, and Thomas Peskett of the European Space Agency (ESA).
They are all already in space.
For our part, the European Space Agency nicknamed the mission “Alpha”, in reference to the Alpha Centauri, the star system closest to our solar system.
SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, has established itself with NASA for space transport at a time when Boeing’s Starliner capsules accumulate delays in their test flights.
The May 2020 success of SpaceX’s first manned test flight broke the Russian monopoly on ISS flights and gave Americans the ability to accomplish this feat after the “Shuttle” space shuttle program ended in 2011.
Thursday’s flight will reuse the thruster from the first Crew-1 mission, and will be similar to the Crew Dragon spacecraft test flight.
Thomas Peskett told reporters that his presence underscored Europe’s commitment to the conquest of space.
“This is important to us as a (space) agency because we have been part of the ISS program for 20 years and we intend to participate in what will happen next,” French said, specifically for the unmanned flight program Alliance with Moon, Artemis.
– crowded station –
Thomas Peskett told AFP of the idea of traveling in futuristic and fully autonomous crew dragon capsules, which is very different from Russian Soyuz ships.
“The way it’s done, it’s just fantastic, you know what’s happening all the time,” he said.
“On Soyuz, it’s incredibly reliable, but you had to understand this information (…) scattered around the dashboard”, and that’s why the training was so long “.
The four astronauts will meet the crew-1 team for a few days before their subsequent return from their six-month mission.
With three Russian people on board, the station would therefore be unusually full, with no fewer than 11 people on board.
Thomas Pesket and his Japanese colleague Hoshide intend to enrich the food with dishes from home.
Thus the pesket showed that the menu would contain craps Suzette.
– mini-brains –
During their mission, the team will be responsible for carrying out several scientific experiments. Among the favorites, according to Thomas Pasquet, examining the effects of weightlessness on brain organoids (mini-brains created in the laboratory).
Scientists hope this research can help prepare space agencies for missions that will expose teams to long-term space difficulties, and even help fight brain disease on Earth do.
Another major part of the mission was to upgrade the station’s solar power system by installing new compact panels that roll out like a giant yoga mat.
The launch of Crew-2 coincides with Earth Day, and by its return in the fall, it may have contributed to environmental research by taking 1.5 million images of events such as nighttime growth algae and artificial lighting.