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Crew-8: SpaceX will send 4 astronauts to the International Space Station aboard its Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX has a new goal. The American company is preparing to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from the east coast of the United States from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Aboard the Dragon capsule, the four astronauts who will join the International Space Station (ISS) will begin an extended stay of approximately six months.

The crew rotation mission, called Crew-8, is the eighth mission that SpaceX has organized for NASA, not counting test missions and tourism flights. A similar operation called “Crew-9” is planned for the coming months, next summer.

The crew consists of three men and one woman: Russian Alexander Grebionkin and Americans Matthew Dominic, Jeanette Epps and pilot Michael Barratt. With the exception of the last one, who had already flown aboard the Soyuz and Discovery spacecraft, all of them were in space for the first time.

Russian-American partnership

The presence of the Russian cosmonaut is explained by the US-Russia partnership in space, which remains relevant despite rising tensions over the war in Ukraine or, more recently, concerns about Moscow’s development of anti-satellite weapons, the Washington Post noted. In 2022, in response to American sanctions, Russia even threatened to leave the partnership.

The departure of the Crew-8 mission is scheduled for this Saturday, March 2, at 23:16 (local time). On mainland France on Sunday 3 March it will be 5:16 am. The event can be watched live on the SpaceX website or on NASA’s YouTube channel.

However, meteorologists at the Cape Canaveral space station estimate the chances of a successful launch at just 40%, citing possible precipitation as well as the potentially high risk of bad weather conditions in the ascent corridor, Florida Today reports. “All systems are operational,” NASA said Saturday afternoon.

Source: Le Parisien

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