Crew-6 launches from Florida, bound for ISS

dark beach at night arc of golden light
A Falcon 9 booster topped with the Dragon crew capsule Endeavor carries the members of Crew-6 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the International Space Station early Thursday morning (March 2, 2023). The capsule will dock with the ISS later today. This is the 6th crewed mission for SpaceX to the ISS. Image via Greg Diesel Walck.

Crew-6 lifts off!

Riding a tower of golden flame, the four-member Crew-6 soared into space early Thursday morning (March 2, 2023) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Falcon 9 carrying the Endeavor Dragon crew capsule lifted off a few minutes after local midnight. The spacecraft reached orbit minutes later. NASA said:

Crew-6 will dock at the space station at approximately 1:17 a.m. EST on Friday, March 3. Live coverage on NASA TV resumes at 11:30 p.m. EST on March 2 and continues through spacecraft docking, hatch opening (2:55 a.m.), and the welcome ceremony (3:40 a.m.) at the microgravity laboratory.

You can watch the docking via the livestream at this link or in the video player below.

The successful launch set an auspicious record: There are now 11 toilets in orbit around Earth.

Crew-6 launch scrubbed previously

The launch of Crew-6 to the International Space Station (ISS) was delayed when the mission was scrubbed on February 26. A new late-night launch date was announced, and the crew went up at 5:34 UTC on March 2, 2023 (12:34 a.m. ET on March 2, or 11:34 p.m. CT on March 1). They rode aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule, powered by a Falcon 9 rocket.

The Crew-6 mission consists of four space travelers, including NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.

Overall, it’ll be NASA’s 6th mission to ISS using a SpaceX Dragon.

Last chance to get a moon phase calendar! Only a few left.

A 7-month mission

Ultimately, the crew of four plans to stay at the ISS for approximately seven months.

Previously, the last Crew mission, Crew-5, successfully carried four astronauts to the ISS in October 2022.

Photographers in foreground, 4 astronauts in background, on a tarmac.
A crush of photographers greeted the 4 Crew-6 team members (in front of the airplane) on February 21, 2023, for the traditional “walkout” prior to a planned launch overnight on February 26-27, 2023. But that launch was scrubbed. Now the launch is scheduled for overnight on March 1-2. Image via Greg Diesel Walck.
Crew-6: Four men in blue flight suits stand by a sign with their names with a NASA plane in the background.
The 4 members of Crew-6 on February 21, 2023. They’ll launch to the ISS from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida overnight on March 1-2. Image via Greg Diesel Walck.

Space station woes

So, generally speaking, crew transport is progressing. But ISS itself has had its share of woes over the past months. First, a Soyuz spacecraft, after safely delivering three astronauts to ISS in September, started leaking coolant while docked with the space station. Then, a Progress supply craft docked at the ISS began leaking coolant in February. In this case, it’s possible that micrometeoroids – tiny bits of rock or other material in space, crashing into ISS – are to blame.

Bottom line: The Crew-6 mission to the International Space Station lifted off successfully at 12:34 a.m. ET on March 2, 2023. Rewatch via the livestream in this post.

March 2, 2023

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Kelly Kizer Whitt

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