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SpaceX Dragon Successfully Launches Eighth Crewed Mission Sending Diverse Team of Astronauts to ISS

Date: August 28, 2023

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Dragon spacecraft successfully launched its eighth crewed flight in collaboration with NASA, carrying a diverse team of four astronauts from the United States, Denmark, Japan, and Russia to the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday.

Leading the Crew-7 mission is American astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, accompanied by her fellow crew members Konstantin Borisov from Russia, Satoshi Furukawa from Japan, and Andreas Mogensen from Denmark.

The launch took place at 3:27 a.m. (07:27 GMT) as the Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Dragon spacecraft, lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. The event was witnessed by nearly 10,000 spectators and marked with excitement as the mission commenced.

“We have liftoff!” NASA announced on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. Shortly after the Dragon capsule separated from the Falcon 9 rocket and entered orbit, cheers erupted in the mission control area, according to reports from Al Jazeera.

Jasmin Moghbeli expressed the unity and common purpose of the international crew, stating, “We may have four crew members on board from four different nations … but we’re a united team with a common mission.”

The launch was rescheduled to Saturday to allow engineers an additional day to inspect a component of the Crew Dragon capsule’s environmental control and life support system, as outlined in a NASA blog post.

Following its docking with the ISS, the Dragon spacecraft is expected to return the crew members to Earth within a few days, completing the journey to and from the human outpost located 400 kilometers (249 miles) above the planet in under 24 hours.

For both Jasmin Moghbeli and Konstantin Borisov, this marks their inaugural space voyage. Moghbeli, a naval test pilot, expressed her excitement for the unique perspective the experience will offer, particularly the view of Earth from space and the sensation of floating in microgravity.

The Crew-7 mission is another milestone in Elon Musk’s SpaceX journey, with the company’s first routine voyage to the ISS launching in 2020. NASA’s collaboration with SpaceX is part of its commercial crew program, aimed at reducing dependence on Russian rockets for astronaut transportation following the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.

While SpaceX has successfully delivered crew to the ISS, Boeing, NASA’s other contracted private partner, has faced delays and technical challenges with its program, preventing crewed flights on its spacecraft so far.

Konstantin Borisov’s participation in the SpaceX Crew Dragon mission makes him the third Russian to venture into space aboard this spacecraft, perched atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

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