BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket early Saturday morning from the Kennedy Space Center as part of its Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station.
The rocket took off at 3:27 a.m. from the space center’s Launch Complex 39A.
The launch was originally scheduled for 3:50 a.m. on Friday morning, but NASA announced that they would scrub the launch. Mission managers rescheduled the liftoff for early Saturday morning, giving them an extra 24 hours to close out lingering issues, officials said.
SpaceX announced on Friday evening — just hours before the launch — that weather was 95% favorable for liftoff on Saturday morning.
NASA announced that the following four members will comprise the team for the Crew-7 mission:
- Commander Jasmin Moghbeli, NASA
- Pilot Andreas Mogensen, European Space Agency
- Mission Specialist Satoshi Furukawa, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
- Mission Specialist Konstantin Borisov, Roscosmos
Moghbeli was a U.S. Marine Corps pilot with over 2,000 hours of flight time and 150 combat missions under her belt, according to NASA. She was selected to join the agency as an astronaut candidate in 2017 and later appointed as commander of the Crew-7 mission for her first spaceflight. You can view her full bio here.
Mogensen received his doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 2007 before being selected as an astronaut in 2009. He became the first Danish citizen in space in 2015 during a separate mission to the ISS, where he worked as a flight engineer. You can view his full bio here.
Furukawa has an extensive background in medical science and research, first qualifying as a mission specialist with NASA in 2006. Roughly five years later, he spent 165 days aboard the ISS as a flight engineer to conduct experiments and perform maintenance. You can view his full bio here.
Borisov fills in the last seat on the crew, holding two Masters, including operations research and aircraft building. Having been selected for astronaut training in 2018, this will be his first spaceflight, according to the ESA.
The quartet arrived at the Kennedy Space Center earlier this week in preparation for the launch, and they are expected to remain on the ISS for around six months following the flight.
During their time on the ISS, the crew members will “conduct science and technology demonstrations to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and to benefit humanity on Earth” as part of the seventh rotation of the Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX officials explained.
The trip to the ISS will take around 24 hours, with the Endurance expected to dock at the space station on Sunday if the launch is successful on Saturday morning. According to NASA, the crew will then start their microgravity research mission.
Following the crew’s arrival, the SpaceX Crew-6 team, which is currently aboard the ISS, will hand over the space station to Crew-7 members before returning to Earth.
While no exact timeframe has been provided on when that return will be, NASA officials have said that Crew-6′s SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft is scheduled to undock from the space station no earlier than Friday, Sept. 1. They will then splash down off the coast of Florida.
Earlier this month, NASA also announced the selections for the Crew-8 mission, including Commander Matthew Dominick; Pilot Michael Barratt; Mission Specialist Jeanette Epps; and Roscosmos Mission Specialist Alexander Grebenkin. They are currently expected to board the station early next year.
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