ORLANDO, Fla. – A spacecraft carrying NASA’s Crew-5 team docked Thursday at the International Space Station after a successful launch off Florida’s Space Coast.
Crew-5 is made up of NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, astronaut Koichi Wakata, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and cosmonaut Anna Kikina, of Roscosmos.
The four launched Wednesday afternoon in a Dragon Endurance spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center to spend the next several months at the space station.
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The launch marked the first time in 20 years that a Russian cosmonaut rocketed from the U.S., launching alongside NASA and Japanese astronauts despite tensions over the war in Ukraine.
The crew will join Expedition 68 crew of NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, Frank Rubio and Jessica Watkins, of the European Space Agency, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin.
“Missions like Crew-5 are proof we are living through a golden era of commercial space exploration. It’s a new era powered by the spirit of partnership, fueled by scientific ingenuity, and inspired by the quest for new discoveries,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a release. “During their stay aboard the International Space Station, Crew-5 will conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations, including studies on printing human organs in space and better understanding heart disease.”
Crew-5 is set to return to Earth in spring 2023.