NASA takes Russian astronaut to International Space Station – News

The United States took a Russian astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) on a SpaceX rocket on Wednesday, a trip that has symbolism amid the war in Ukraine.

“Let’s do this,” said Crew-5 mission commander Nicole Mann, the first Native American sent into space, shortly before liftoff.

Anna Kikina, the only active cosmonaut, is part of the crew of Crew-5, which also includes two Americans and one Japanese. It is the fifth mission to the ISS in a SpaceX spacecraft led by NASA.

The takeoff took place at noon on Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with good weather conditions. Fifteen days ago, an American went to the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.

The long-anticipated astronaut exchange program has continued despite tensions between the two countries since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

ISS maintenance has become one of the few fields in which Washington and Moscow still cooperate.

Transporting citizens of another nation is “a big responsibility,” Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator, said at a news conference in late September.

“From an operational point of view, we very much appreciate the consistency of the relationship, even in a very difficult geopolitical moment,” he said of the relationship that the US space agency maintains with Roscosmos, its Russian counterpart.

mission details

Anna Kikina, 38, an engineer by training, will be the fifth Russian professional cosmonaut to travel into space. “I hope that in the near future there will be more women in the cosmonaut corps,” she told AFP in August.

This will also be the first spaceflight for Americans Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, and the fifth for Japan’s Koichi Wakata.

The capsule that will take them to the ISS — which orbits about 400 kilometers from Earth — is due to dock after 30 hours of flight. The five astronauts and cosmonauts will join another seven that are already installed on the station (two Russians, four Americans and one Italian).

Four members who traveled on the previous mission will return to Earth within days of the replacement. Crew-5’s crew will spend five months in orbit and carry out more than 200 scientific experiments.

Kikina will also be the first Russian to board a Falcon 9 rocket, owned by controversial billionaire Elon Musk.

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