The NASA SpaceX Crew-5 mission docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday evening, beginning a six-month stay for NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. The mission, which used SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, Endurance, launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday. As the name implies, Crew-5 is the fifth crew rotation mission for SpaceX as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
“The International Space Station continues to serve a critical role in helping NASA and our partners understand and maximize the unique attributes of the microgravity environment,” said Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate. “I am grateful to the many people who worked to ensure a safe Crew-5 launch despite the recent hurricane so the crew can fulfill their mission to the orbiting laboratory.”
According to NASA, Crew-5 will “conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations” in areas including cardiovascular health, bioprinting and fluid behavior in microgravity. As previously reported by AVweb, SpaceX is currently contracted with NASA for a total of 14 crew transport missions. The company launched its first crewed mission, and the first operational crewed launch by a private company, in November 2020.