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NASA and the Elon Musk-owned private rocket company SpaceX have finally launched four more astronauts on a flight to the International Space Station (ISS)

NASA and the Elon Musk-owned private rocket company SpaceX have finally launched four more astronauts on a flight to the International Space Station (ISS). After a number of delays, the launch finally took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 9.03 p.m. on Wednesday, launching on top of one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets.

"Crew 3" comprises NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander; Tom Marshburn, pilot; and Kayla Barron, mission specialist; as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will serve as a mission specialist, to the space station for a six-month science mission, staying aboard until late April 2022. This is the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Programme.

Aboard Dragon with the crew will be more than 400 pounds of supplies and hardware, including over 150 pounds of which they will use to conduct experiments aboard the space station. Here is some of the research riding with them into low-Earth orbit. In addition to the experiments flying with them aboard Dragon, the Crew-3 astronauts are also scheduled to conduct many additional experiments and technology demonstrations during their mission.

Crew-3 is crucial for the testing of new upgrades to the space station's Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), including the newly installed toilet, the Brine Processing Assembly, carbon dioxide scrubbers, and two new hydrogen sensors slated to arrive aboard a SpaceX Cargo Dragon in late December. (IANS/ MBI)


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NASA and Russia's State Space Corporation Roscosmos are planning to hold joint training sessions for mixed missions to the International Space Station (ISS)

NASA and Russia's State Space Corporation Roscosmos are planning to hold joint training sessions for mixed missions to the International Space Station (ISS), the media reported.

Kathy Lueders, associate administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate, announced the "intergovernmental agreements" on Friday, TASS news agency reported.

"The Russians, based on the number of missions that the SpaceX had flown, they have agreed to further the processing of our intergovernmental agreements where we eventually would be flying US crew members on the Soyuz and the Russian cosmonauts on the US SpaceX vehicle," Lueders was quoted as saying.

"We are very excited to see that we have made progress with them (Russia) at least on the first steps going forward and have our initial cosmonauts beginning to do assessments and training with suits and us beginning to do the training for that," she added.

On October 26, Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said that the Russian space agency and NASA had begun detailed talks about flying crew members for missions by Russian cosmonauts on board US SpaceX vehicles and NASA astronauts on board Soyuz spacecraft.

Meanwhile, Russia's Progress MS-18 cargo spacecraft has docks with orbital outpost ISS. The cargo spaceship launched on early Thursday night from the Baikonur spaceport, the report said.

The spaceship was earlier reported to deliver to the ISS 470 kg fuel, 420 litres of drinking water, 40 kgs of air and oxygen in containers, 1,509 kg of equipment and materials, medical control and sanitary tools, clothing items, meals and fresh products.

Progress MS-18 spacecraft will remain docked with the ISS until next year.

(IANS/JB)

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