a ship of SpaceX took off Wednesday from Florida for the International Space Station (ISS), with a Russian crew member, on a journey that has a symbolic meaning in the midst of the war in Ukraine.
“let’s do it”Said the Crew-5 mission commander shortly before takeoff, nicole mannthe first Native American sent to space.
anna kikina, the only active Russian woman cosmonaut, is also part of the Crew-5 crew, which also includes another American and a Japanese. It is the fifth mission to the ISS on a SpaceX spacecraft led by NASA.
Fifteen days ago, an American went to the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.
This long-planned astronaut exchange program has been maintained despite tensions between the two countries since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
The maintenance of the ISS has become one of the few fields in which Washington and Moscow cooperate.
Transporting citizens of another nation is “a great responsibility”NASA associate administrator Kathy Lueders said at a news conference in late September.
“From an operational point of view, we have greatly appreciated the consistency of the relationship, even in a very difficult geopolitical moment,” he said of the relationship that the US space agency maintains with Roscomos, its Russian counterpart.
anna kikina38 years old and an engineer by training, will become the fifth Russian female professional astronaut traveling into space. “I hope that in the near future there will be more women in the cosmonaut corps,” she told the agency. AFP in August.
This will also be the first spaceflight for Americans nicole mann Y Josh Cassadaand the fifth for Japanese Koichi Wakata.
The capsule that will take them to the ISS – which orbits about 400 km from Earth – is expected to dock after 30 hours of flight.
The five astronauts will join another seven who 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 in a few days after taking over.
the crew of the Crew-5 will spend five months in orbit and will carry out more than 200 scientific experiments.
Kikina will also be the first Russian to get on a Falcon 9 rocket, of the company of the controversial billionaire Elon Musk.
Tensions between Moscow and Washington have also increased in the space sector after the announcement of the US sanctions against the Russian aerospace industry in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow announced this summer that it will leave the ISS “after 2024.”without specifying a specific date, to create its own orbital station.
Roscosmos manned spaceflight director, Sergei Krikalyovsaid on Monday that it “hopes” the Russian government will agree to prolong its participation in the ISS beyond 2024.
The United States has already said that it wants to continue with the project until 2030. The ISS cannot function without one of the two segments that make it up, one American and the other Russian.
The latter is responsible for keeping the ISS in orbit through a propulsion system.
Between 2011 and SpaceX’s first flight to the ISS in 2020, Russia was the only country capable of transporting astronauts to the stationtrips for which he charged NASA.
The loss of this monopoly represents a significant drop in revenue for the Russian space program.
This year’s astronaut exchange, which will be repeated in the future, is without financial compensation.
(With information from AFP)
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