Two Americans a Russian and an Emirati about to launch

Two Americans, a Russian and an Emirati about to launch to the International Space Station – FRANCE 24

The launch is scheduled to take place Monday at 1:45 a.m. local time, 06:45 a.m. GMT from the Kennedy Space Center. The weather is said to be favorable 95% of the time. The Dragon capsule, in which the four passengers are traveling, has to dock with the space station (ISS) after about a day’s journey.

Sultan al-Neyadi, 41, will become the fourth astronaut from an Arab country in history, the second Emirati but the first from his country to spend six months in space.

“We are ready physically, mentally and technically,” he told reporters upon arriving at the space center on Tuesday. “It is a great honor to be here and even a privilege,” he added.

The mission also includes a Russian astronaut, Andrei Fediayev, just as tensions between Washington and Moscow are at their peak a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Even before the offensive in Moscow, it was planned that Russians would travel with SpaceX and Americans with Russian Soyuz spacecraft – an exchange program that is being maintained despite extreme diplomatic tensions. The space station is one of the few ongoing fields of cooperation between the two countries.

When asked Tuesday about the impact of these political tensions on the crew, the mission’s commander, American Stephen Bowen, replied that it is “rare to see these issues raised in day-to-day conversations” and that he and his teammates are “focused.” stayed”. Mission”.

Dubbed Crew-6, the crew is the sixth to travel to the ISS as part of a regular SpaceX rotation. The capsule, named Endeavor, has already flown through space three times.

NASA commissions the American company to send its astronauts to the flying laboratory about every six months.

They carry out scientific experiments there and take care of the maintenance of the station, which has been permanently inhabited for more than 22 years.

Crew-6 will replace the four members of Crew-5 (two Americans, one Russian and one Japanese) who arrived in October 2022 and will return to Earth after a few days of handover aboard their own SpaceX ship.

Also on board the ISS are three other passengers (two Russians and one American) who arrived aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

The latter suffered a leak last December, making it dangerous for the three passengers on board to return to Earth. The Russian space agency Roscomos therefore sent a rescue ship that safely docked with the ISS on Saturday.