The departure is scheduled to take place from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 03:50 local time on Friday (0750 GMT), using a Falcon 9 rocket provided by the company of magnate Elon Musk. The weather conditions predict a 90% probability of success; however, if any complications arise, an alternative is contemplated for Saturday. The Dragon capsule, propelled by the aforementioned rocket, will transport the four passengers and is expected to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) after a journey that will last around one day. For about half a year, the crew will carry out various scientific experiments aboard this flying laboratory.
The mission, dubbed Crew-7, ill be led by 40-year-old American astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, who will make her space debut on this trip. Speaking at a press conference the previous month, Moghbeli, an Iranian-born MIT graduate, shared her longing to observe Earth from space, citing the perspective that had transformed the lives of those who had experienced it. Fly in the past
The crew also includes European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen and Japanese Space Agency (Jaxa) representative Satoshi Furukawa, both of whom have been to the ISS before, albeit on shorter previous trips. For his part, Russian Konstantin Borisov will experience his first space flight and has expressed his enthusiasm for this adventure after rigorous training.
Despite the diplomatic tensions between the United States and Russia due to the situation in Ukraine, collaboration in the space field continues on the ISS, which is one of the few remaining fields of cooperation between both nations. In addition, the rocket passenger exchange program persists, with Russian cosmonauts having traveled with SpaceX on previous missions.
Over the weekend, the Crew-7 crew will join the seven passengers already present on the ISS, which has been continuously occupied for more than two decades. After a period of relief with the crew of Crew 6, the members of Crew 7 will return to Earth via another SpaceX capsule. This will be the seventh regular mission to the ISS carried out by SpaceX on behalf of NASA, excluding a previous test mission involving two astronauts. NASA has also signed a contract with Boeing to develop a second option for US transportation to the ISS, though Boeing’s program has faced repeated delays, with its first crewed test flight scheduled for after March 2024.