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SpaceX launches US, Russia, UAE astronauts to space station

by swotverge

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX launched 4 astronauts to the Worldwide House Station for NASA on Thursday, together with the primary individual from the Arab world going up for an prolonged monthslong keep.

The Falcon rocket bolted from Kennedy House Heart shortly after midnight, illuminating the night time sky because it headed up the East Coast.

Practically 80 spectators from the United Arab Emirates watched from the launch website as astronaut Sultan al-Neyadi — solely the second Emirati to fly to area — blasted off on his six-month mission.

Half a world away in Dubai and elsewhere throughout the UAE, faculties and workplaces broadcast the launch reside.

Additionally driving the Dragon capsule that’s due on the area station on Friday: NASA’s Stephen Bowen, a retired Navy submariner who logged three area shuttle flights, and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, a former analysis scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Expertise and area beginner, and Andrei Fedyaev, an area rookie who’s retired from the Russian Air Pressure.

“Welcome to orbit,” SpaceX Launch Management radioed, noting liftoff occurred 4 years to the day after the capsule’s first orbital take a look at flight. “If you happen to loved your experience, please don’t neglect to present us 5 stars.”

The primary try and launch them was known as off Monday on the final minute due to a clogged filter within the engine ignition system.

“It could have taken two occasions, but it surely was definitely worth the journey,” Bowen mentioned.

NASA’s area operations mission chief, Kathy Lueders, mentioned Thursday’s launch enhanced an evening sky already showcasing a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. The 2 planets have appeared aspect by aspect all week, seeming to develop ever nearer.

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“We added a vibrant new star to that night time sky tonight,” she instructed reporters.

The area station newcomers will change a U.S.-Russian-Japanese crew that has been up there since October. The opposite station residents are two Russians and an American whose six-month keep was doubled, till September, after their Soyuz capsule sprang a leak. A substitute Soyuz arrived final weekend.

Al-Neyadi, a communications engineer, thanked everybody in Arabic after which English as soon as reaching orbit. “Launch was unbelievable. Superb,” he mentioned.

He served as backup for the primary Emirati astronaut, Hazzaa al-Mansoori, who rode a Russian rocket to the area station in 2019 for a weeklong go to. The oil-rich federation paid for al-Neyadi’s seat on the SpaceX flight.

The UAE’s minister for public training and superior know-how, Sarah al-Amiri, mentioned the lengthy mission “supplies us a brand new venue for science and scientific discovery for the nation.”

“We don’t wish to simply go to area after which not have a lot to do there or not have affect,” mentioned the director basic of the UAE’s area heart in Dubai, Salem al-Marri.

The Emirates have already got a spacecraft orbiting Mars, and a mini rover is hitching a experience to the moon on a Japanese lander. Two new UAE astronauts are coaching with NASA’s newest astronaut picks in Houston.

Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman was the primary Arab in area, launching aboard shuttle Discovery in 1985. He was adopted two years later by Syrian astronaut Muhammed Faris, launched by Russia. Each had been in area for a couple of week.

Al-Neyadi might be joined this spring by two Saudi astronauts going to the area station on a brief non-public SpaceX flight paid by their authorities.

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“It’s going to be actually thrilling, actually attention-grabbing” to have three Arabs in area directly, he mentioned final week. “Our area can also be thirsty to be taught extra.”

He’s taking over a number of dates to share together with his crewmates, particularly throughout Ramadan, the Muslim holy month which begins this month. As for observing Ramadan in orbit, he mentioned fasting isn’t obligatory because it might make him weak and jeopardize his mission.

Bowen, the crew’s chief, mentioned the 4 have jelled properly as a staff regardless of variations between their nations. Even with the strain over the warfare in Ukraine, the U.S. and Russia have continued to work collectively on the area station and commerce seats on rides there.

“It’s simply large to have the chance to fly with these guys,” Bowen mentioned.


The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Academic Media Group. The AP is solely accountable for all content material.

Marcia Dunn, The Related Press

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