Third Time’s The Charm For NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 Launch To Space Station

hero nasa spacex crew 8 launch
After two delayed launches, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 finally launched four crew members to the International Space Station aboard the Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket carried the Dragon spacecraft into orbit with astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, and Jeanette Epps on board, along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin.

As the Dragon spacecraft makes its way to the International Space Station, SpaceX will monitor a series of automatic maneuvers from mission control in Hawthorne, California, as NASA teams monitor space station operations at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Once the new crewmembers reach ISS, they will conduct new scientific experiments aimed at preparing for future human exploration beyond low Earth orbit, as well as some that benefit humans back on Earth.

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Four crewmembers of Crew-8 mission ahead of launch.

“Congratulations to NASA and SpaceX on another successful launch to the International Space Station! On this eighth crew rotation mission, we are once again showing the strength of our commercial partnerships and American ingenuity that will propel us further in the cosmos,” remarked NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Aboard the station, the crew will conduct over 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations to help fuel this new era of space exploration and benefit humanity here on Earth.”

The new scientific studies will include studying neurological organoids, plant growth, and shifts in body fluids. Astronaut Michael Barratt will join a group of astronauts taking part in a suite of experiments, Complement of Integrated Protocols for Human Exploration Research (CIPHER), that is helping scientists to understand how extended stays in space change the human body.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket making its return landing following launch.

The Dragon spacecraft is currently on schedule to dock with the International Space Station at approximately 3:00am ET on Tuesday, at which time the three NASA astronauts and one cosmonaut will spend the next six months onboard ISS. The four new crewmembers will relieve four people that were part of the Crew-7 mission, who have been onboard ISS since August of last year. Those four crewmembers are expected to splashdown off the Florida coast in about a week.

The launch of the Dragon spacecraft marked the space agency’s eighth commercial crew rotation mission with SpaceX to the space station, and the thirteenth time SpaceX has launched humans into space since 2020.