The astronauts will live in the station’s Harmony module, conducting scientific research in areas such as materials science, health technologies and plant science to prepare for deeper human exploration.
Dubbed the Crew-3, the astronauts are set to blast-off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, 31 October at 2:21am onboard a Falcon 9 rocket – SpaceX’s workhorse – aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft.
“The Crew-3 mission will fly a new Crew Dragon spacecraft and will be the first mission to fly a previously used nose-cone,” NASA says.
Following previous traditions, the astronauts to fly a new spacecraft are given the opportunity to name it themselves, and Crew-3 chose "Endurance".
The name was chosen “as a tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit for exploration to push farther than we ever have with commercial opportunities in low-Earth orbit and preparations for missions to the Moon and Mars,” NASA said.
“The name also acknowledges the development team’s work throughout a pandemic and the people who will fly future long-duration missions on the spacecraft.”
SpaceX and NASA’s Crew-2 launched onboard a Falcon 9 to the ISS in late April, and the astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide still reside there today.
The four astronauts onboard the third mission are Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer.
Chari will be the commander of the spacecraft and mission, responsible for all phases of the flight – this will mark his first spaceflight after being selected by NASA in 2017.
Marshburn is the pilot of the spacecraft and second-in-command for the mission, responsible for the systems and performance of the flight – this will mark his third visit to the space station.
Barron will be mission specialist of the Crew-3, working closely with the commander and pilot to monitor the spacecraft during launch and re-entry – this will also be Barron’s first spaceflight after being selected by NASA in 2017.
Lastly, Maurer will also be a mission specialist of the flight and will become a long-duration crew member aboard the space station, marking his first trip to space.
The Endurance capsule was safely transported to the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Monday ready for lift-off, a NASA blog said.
After a 22-hour flight, the Crew Dragon is expected to dock with the station on Monday, 1 November at 12:10am.
After a handover period, the Crew-2 astronauts will board the Crew Dragon Endeavour for their return to Earth in early November, NASA said.
Bella Richards is a journalist who has written for several local newspapers, her university newspaper and a tech magazine, and completed her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney in 2020. She joined Momentum Media in 2021, and has since written breaking news stories across Space Connect, Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.
You can email Bella on: [email protected]
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