The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft "Endurance" arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday, August 27, carrying a new crew of international astronauts to embark on a half-year mission in orbit. The Crew Dragon capsule flawlessly docked with the ISS at 9:16 a.m. EDT, precisely at a space-facing port on the Harmony module of the orbital outpost. Flying at an altitude of 261 miles above Australia, the capsule completed a wide flight around the ISS before successfully establishing its connection. The fly-around of the ISS allowed the cameras on board to capture stunning images of the Dragon Endurance capsule set against the backdrop of Earth's blue expanse, pictured below. This captivating display serves as a testament to the remarkable achievements of humanity's ongoing journey into the cosmos.
The moment of docking marked the culmination of a 29-hour journey for the four-person crew, which had launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the early hours of Saturday, as previously reported by TESMANIAN. Radiating excitement and gratitude, NASA's Crew-7 commander Jasmin Moghbeli expressed her awe, stating, "Thank you so much. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a dream." This sentiment was shared by the entire crew, which includes pilot Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency (ESA), and mission specialists Konstantin Borisov of Russia's Roscosmos agency and Satoshi Furukawa of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
As the astronauts opened the hatches connecting Dragon and the ISS at 10:58 a.m. EDT, they were welcomed by the seven astronauts already on board the station. The joint mission officially commenced with a short welcome ceremony uniting all 11 astronauts.
What makes Crew-7's mission especially remarkable is its diverse and international nature. This crew is the first all-international team to fly together in a SpaceX Dragon capsule, representing four different space agencies and countries. This includes NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
SpaceX's Crew-7 mission is a pivotal milestone, marking the seventh operational commercial crew flight for NASA. The mission underscores SpaceX's status as one of the two private companies with multibillion-dollar contracts to transport astronauts to the ISS for NASA. The other company, Boeing, is expected to conduct its first crewed test flight in early 2024 due to delays with its spacecraft development.
Over the next six months, the Crew-7 astronauts will fulfill their mission to conduct scientific research, experiments, and other activities while also relieving the four astronauts of NASA's Crew-6 mission, who are scheduled to return to Earth on September 2.
NASA Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli's participation in Crew-7 marks her first spaceflight and makes her the second Iranian-American astronaut to venture into space. Konstantin Borisov is also experiencing his inaugural flight into space. While Andreas Mogensen and Satoshi Furukawa have previously visited the ISS, Mogensen achieved a unique feat as the first European to pilot a SpaceX Dragon capsule. The capsule "Endurance" itself is no stranger to space travel, having previously facilitated the Crew-3 and Crew-5 missions to the ISS for NASA.
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Featured Images Source: NASA & SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.