TechSpaceX launches mixed crew to ISS amid technical challenges

SpaceX launches mixed crew to ISS amid technical challenges

Falcon-9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida
Falcon-9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida
Images source: © SpaceX
4:00 AM EST, March 4, 2024

This particular mission represents the eighth trip to the ISS by the private company SpaceX, acting on NASA's behalf. Since its inception by Elon Musk in 2002, SpaceX began conducting crewed Earth orbit flights in May 2020.

The Falcon 9 rockets, designed for delivering payloads into orbit, support both crewed and uncrewed missions to the International Space Station. Featuring a two-stage design that allows the booster stage to be reused, the latest version, Falcon 9 Block 5, stands at 229 feet tall, weighs approximately 648 tons at launch, and generates an initial thrust of about 1.84 million pounds.

The rocket launch faced uncertainty

Originally delayed by three days due to strong winds in the Cape Canaveral area, the Falcon-9 rocket launch's timing became uncertain. According to the Associated Press, a minor crack in the Dragon capsule's hatch was discovered at the last minute. Nevertheless, SpaceX engineers assessed the situation and concluded that it presented no threat to the flight's safety.

Three Americans and a Russian on a space journey

American astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, and Jeanette Epps, together with Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr Griebionkin, are aboard the Crew Dragon-8 capsule. They are scheduled to reach the ISS on Tuesday, where they will take over from the current crew that has been in place since August of the previous year.

Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr Griebionkin's journey to the ISS aboard an American spacecraft marks a continuation of the cooperation between NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos. This collaboration moves forward despite the ongoing tensions between Washington and Moscow, primarily due to Russia's aggression toward Ukraine, under an agreement reached in 2022.

Related content