NASA and the Elon Musk-owned private rocket company SpaceX have launched four more astronauts on a flight to the International Space Station (ISS). The "Crew 3” mission consists of Indian-origin NASA astronaut Raja Chari as its mission commander and three other astronauts.
Raja Chari was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class, after which he reported for duty in August that year. The Iowa native was born to Peggy Egbert and Sreenivas V Chari, born in Telangana.
He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to earn a master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.
He has accumulated more than 2,500 hours of flight time in the F-35, F-15, F-16, and F-18 including F-15E combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom and deployments in support of the Korean peninsula.
Tom Marshburn, pilot; and Kayla Barron, mission specialist; as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will serve as a mission specialist, will accompany Raja Chari to the space station for a six-month science mission, staying aboard until late April 2022.
After a number of delays, the launch finally took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 9.03 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10 launching on top of one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets.
This is the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Programme.
Aboard Dragon with the crew will be more than 400 pounds of supplies and hardware, including over 150 pounds of which they will use to conduct experiments aboard the space station.
In addition to the experiments flying with them aboard Dragon, the Crew-3 astronauts are also scheduled to conduct many additional experiments and technology demonstrations during their mission.
Crew-3 is crucial for the testing of new upgrades to the space station's Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), including the newly installed toilet, the Brine Processing Assembly, carbon dioxide scrubbers, and two new hydrogen sensors slated to arrive aboard a SpaceX Cargo Dragon in late December.
With IANS inputs