SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches the Crew-Three mission on November 10, 2021.
SpaceX launched 4 astronauts to the International Space Station from Florida on Wednesday night, as the corporate retains up a gradual tempo of crewed missions.
Known as Crew-3, the mission for NASA will deliver the quartet to the ISS for a six-month keep in orbit on the analysis laboratory. SpaceX launched the astronauts in its Crew Dragon capsule on high of a Falcon 9 rocket.
“It was a great ride – better than we imagined,” NASA astronaut and Crew Dragon commander Raja Chari advised mission management after the launch.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule on launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on November 09, 2021 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
The launch is SpaceX’s third operational crew launch for NASA so far, and the primary by the most recent addition to its fleet of Crew Dragon capsules, named Endurance by the Crew-Three astronauts. The Crew-3 mission brings the variety of astronauts SpaceX has launched to 18.
The mission carries three Americans and one German: NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer. This is the primary spaceflight for 3 of the crew: Chari, Barron and Maurer.
SpaceX developed its Crew Dragon spacecraft and fine-tuned its Falcon 9 rocket beneath NASA’s Commercial Crew program, which offered the corporate with $3.1 billion to develop the system and launch six operational missions.
Commercial Crew is a aggressive program, and NASA additionally awarded Boeing with $4.eight billion in contracts to develop its Starliner spacecraft. Boeing’s capsule, nonetheless, stays in improvement attributable to an uncrewed flight take a look at in December 2019 that skilled important challenges.
Crew-Three represents the third of these six missions for SpaceX, with NASA now benefiting from the funding it made within the firm’s spacecraft improvement.
NASA emphasizes that, along with the U.S. having a solution to ship astronauts to area, SpaceX provides the company a cost-saving possibility as nicely. The company expects to pay $55 million per astronaut to fly with Crew Dragon, versus $86 million per astronaut to fly on a Russian spacecraft. NASA final yr estimated that having two personal corporations compete for contracts saved the company between $20 billion and $30 billion in improvement prices.
The SpaceX Crew-Three astronauts stand on the transporter in entrance of the Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 stack contained in the SpaceX horizontal processing facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 26, 2021.
Endurance is a brand new Crew Dragon capsule debuting for this mission. Previously, capsules Resilience and Endeavour have flown astronauts, and SpaceX expects so as to add a fourth Crew Dragon early subsequent yr.