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SpaceX to launch its latest crew

SpaceX to launch its latest crew

SpaceX to launch its latest crew
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A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft crewed by affluent explorers splashed down off the coast of Florida a few days ago, and another is scheduled to launch Wednesday, this time for a NASA mission to the International Space Station.

With weather forecast to be good, the Crew-4 mission, carrying Americans Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, as well as Italian Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, is set to launch from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:52 a.m. (0752 GMT).

The ceremony will be webcast live on NASA’s website and social media platforms.

SpaceX’s quick turnaround time — just under 40 hours between retrieving one crew and sending up another — is indicative of an increasingly busy human spaceflight schedule since Elon Musk’s business became NASA’s permanent astronaut taxi in 2020.

NASA relied on Russian Soyuz rockets for service between 2011 (when the Space Shuttle programme terminated) and 2020.

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“Think about how the Cape has altered, and how all of those abandoned launchpads on the Cape are roaring back to life,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said during a news conference Tuesday.

Crew-4 will join Crew-3, which is nearing the conclusion of its five-month rotation on the ISS, as well as three Russians on the Russian part of the orbiting station.

Crew-3’s return date will be announced soon.

Crew-4 will conduct hundreds of scientific experiments, including ongoing research into growing plants in space without soil.

Another project includes creating an artificial human retina by utilising the ISS’s microgravity environment to deposit layer after layer of thin protein films.

According to NASA scientist Heidi Parris, the method “may someday be utilised to repair destroyed photoreceptor cells in the eyes and perhaps restore meaningful vision to the millions of patients who suffer from retinal degenerative disease.”

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Watkins will be only the sixth Black woman in space, and the first to join the crew of the International Space Station on an extended trip.

The crew should arrive at the space station 17 hours after launch, with docking scheduled at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday (0015 GMT Thursday).

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