Human WorldSpaceflight

Crew-8 launches successfully, headed to ISS

Streak of rocket lift off, in a night sky.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched on March 3, 2024, from Kennedy Space Center in Florida carrying Crew-8 mission into orbit for a mission to the International Space Station. See that little streak to the right of the primary streak? It’s the Falcon 9 booster returning to land. Image via Greg Diesel-Walck.

Crew-8 launches to ISS

An international crew of four reached orbit following a successful launch on Sunday, March 3, 2024 to the International Space Station (ISS). A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the crew, lifing off at 10:53 p.m. EST Sunday from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission is the agency’s eighth commercial crew rotation mission with the company to the space station. The Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, will dock autonomously to the forward port of ISS Harmony module about 3 a.m. Tuesday, March 5, NASA said. Details on how to watch below.

Following the launch, the Falcon 9 booster landed successfully SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida See a video of the booster descent and landing here.

Crew-8 includes NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick (commander), Michael Barratt (pilot), and Jeanette Epps (mission specialist, along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin (mission specialist).

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station was scheduled to lift off Saturday night (March 2, 2024). But unfavorable conditions in the flight path of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft caused Saturday’s launch to be scrubbed.

The new crew’s half a year ISS stay will include the arrival of two NASA rocketships. While there, the crew will conduct several scientific experiments and maintenance on the station.

Four astronauts in spacesuits.
Astronauts headed for space! Front row from left, pilot Michael Barratt and commander Matthew Dominick. Back row from left, Russian cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin and mission specialist Jeanette Epps. The crew is leaving the Operations and Checkout building for a trip to Launch Pad 39-A, Sunday, March 3, 2024, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photo special to EarthSky from Greg Diesel-Walck.

How to watch the March 5 dock with ISS

NASA will provide live coverage of rendezvous, docking, and hatch opening, beginning at 1 a.m., on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. NASA also will continue coverage of the crew welcome ceremony once they are aboard the orbital outpost. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

Crew-8 mission goals

Crew-8 experiments will be aimed at preparing for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit, NASA said. They include a study of brain organoids to understand neurodegenerative disorders, shifts in body fluids during spaceflight, and the effects of UV radiation and microgravity on plant growth, and more. NASA said:

Over 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations will take place during Crew-8’s mission of approximately six months in space.

Get the latest at NASA’s Crew-8 blog

Rocket launch at night.
Lift off on March 3, 2024, carrying 4 astronauts to ISS. Image via NASA.

See a replay of the launch here

Arrival at Kennedy Space Center in Florida

Crew-8: Man standing on a ladder, with a camera mounted on a tall tripod, giving a thumbs up.
EarthSky photographer and friend Greg Diesel-Walck was at Kennedy Space Center in Florida this weekend, waiting to photograph the Crew-8 launch. He said, “Some of the wire media guys told me that, in the Space Shuttle era, the rows of media were so deep they were on 20-foot ladders to get a shot.” Thanks Greg, and thanks for the photos!

Bottom line: The 4 space-goers in NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station lifted off successfully Sunday night. They will dock with ISS on March 5.

Via NASA on YouTube

Visit NASA’s Crew-8 blog for the latest mission news.


March 4, 2024
Human World

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