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Crew reach space station aboard recycled SpaceX capsule

Four astronauts from the United States, France and Japan are first put into orbit by a recycled rocket thruster from a previous space flight.

Four astronauts have arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavor capsule, NASA said on Saturday, becoming the first crew to be put into orbit by a rocket thruster recycled from a previous flight. spatial.

The three male and one female crew from the United States, Japan and France reached the ISS early Saturday morning after an 23-hour journey.

They reached the ISS in the same capsule used by SpaceX’s prime crew last May.

“Their arrival means that there are now 11 humans aboard our orbital laboratory, a number not seen since the era of the space shuttle. Hugs abound, ”tweeted NASA, along with a video of the welcome the new astronaut crew received.

Endeavor locked in a mooring port shortly after 9:00 a.m. GMT about 420 km (260 miles) above the southern Indian Ocean, NASA mentionned in a report.

On board were two NASA astronauts – mission commander Shane Kimbrough, 53, and pilot Megan McArthur, 49 – as well as Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, 52, and fellow mission specialist Thomas Pesquet, 43 years old, a French engineer from the European Space Agency.

The crew is on a six-month science mission to the ISS, NASA said.

“It’s been 20 years… since JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), ESA (European Space Agency), NASA and Russian astronauts have been together in space, so it’s pretty historic what’s going on. today, ”said Pesquet, the astronaut France.

“We can’t wait to start our work on the space station, we can’t wait to see what lies ahead in the adventure.”

The mission marks the second “operational” space station team launched by NASA aboard a Crew Dragon capsule since human spaceflight resumed from US soil last year after a nine-year hiatus.

It is also the third crewed flight to orbit in 11 months under NASA’s nascent public-private partnership with SpaceX, the rocket company founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc. .

This screenshot from the NASA live stream shows SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft approximately 20 meters from the docking access to the International Space Station on April 24. [NASA/AFP]




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