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With help from SpaceX, NASA's Crew-3 successfully docks with International Space Station

3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago Friday, November 12 2021 Nov 12, 2021 November 12, 2021 6:20 AM November 12, 2021 in News
Source: CNN
ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, left, and NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, second from left, Raja Chari, second from right, and Kayla Barron, right (Nov. 10, 2021) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

As of Friday morning, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule designed to transport four astronauts to the International Space Station has successfully brought the team to its destination and docked with the ISS, CNN reports.

The astronaut's six-month mission at the space station, which orbits more than 200 miles above Earth, is referred to as Crew-3. It's the fourth such mission in a partnership between SpaceX and NASA to date.

SpaceX has agreed to assist NASA in regularly transporting astronauts to the ISS in hopes of keeping the 21-year-old space station adequately staffed.

This staffing issue had been a top concern to NASA since its own Space Shuttle program retired in 2011, leaving Russia as the only country with the ability to provide ISS transportation.

Kayla Barron, Matthias Maurer, Tom Marshburn, and Raja Chari were selected for the Crew-3 mission and the four left Earth via the Crew Dragon capsule Wednesday.

Their SpaceX rocket lifted off just after 8 p.m. (CST) from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, vaulting the capsule into orbit, before the spacecraft began to maneuver through orbit on its own and make its way toward the ISS.

Barron, a scientist with a Navy background and a master's degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Cambridge, earned her position as a NASA astronaut in 2017. Prior to this, in 2010, she became one of the first women ever to serve on a Navy submarine.

Chari also joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2017 and has a master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT. He also graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School.

Chari and Barron may both eventually make future trips to the Moon as they've also been selected for NASA's corps of Artemis astronauts, which is the NASA team that will likely make lunar trips at some point in the future. 

Maurer, of the European Space Agency (ESA), is a German astronaut and materials scientist, who was selected in 2015 to take part in space training. He'll have the opportunity to conduct a spacewalk and activate a new robotic arm, which was recently transported to the space station aboard a Russian spacecraft.

As the mission's pilot, Marshburn has a background in physics and a doctorate of medicine. He joined NASA in the early 1990s as a flight surgeon and became a member of the official astronaut corps in 2004.

During this mission, the four astronauts will oversee an attempt to grow a "perfect crystal" to enhance our understanding of biological processes, test of the impact of diet on astronaut health, and test a smartphone video guidance sensor for guidance, navigation, and control of the Astrobee free-flying robot.

Click here for more information on the mission. 

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