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United States: A SpaceX rocket takes off to the International Space Station

Today, Thursday, a SpaceX rocket carrying two American astronauts, a Russian astronaut and an Emirati astronaut, took off to reach the International Space Station, after the launch was canceled at the last minute on Monday.

Liftoff took place Thursday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:34 a.m. local time (5:34 a.m. GMT).

#Crew6 launched on March 2 at 12:34 AM (US East Coast, 5:34 AM GMT), as the sky lit up as the crew headed into orbit aboard the Dragon Endeavor capsule. From @SpaceX, the US space agency on Twitter.

The Dragon capsule carrying the four passengers is scheduled to dock with the space station (ISS) on Friday at 1:17 a.m. local time (6:17 a.m. GMT) after a flight of just over 24 hours. The astronauts will stay there for about six months.

On Monday, the takeoff was canceled at the last minute due to a technical problem. NASA explained Wednesday that the problem is related to routing fluid used to ignite the engines, caused by a “clogged filter.”

The latter has been replaced and the teams are now ready to take off.

The crew, dubbed Crew-6, consists of NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, and Russian cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev.

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

Moreover, even if tensions between Washington and Moscow are at their peak a year after Russia’s attack in Ukraine, the two countries have maintained an exchange program that allows Russians to fly with SpaceX, and Americans to fly on Russian Soyuz rockets. The space station is one of the few areas of cooperation still ongoing between the two countries.

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

Three other passengers (two Russians and an American) aboard the space station, arriving with the Soyuz spacecraft. Therefore, the International Space Station will receive at least eleven people for a few days.

NASA pays for SpaceX to send its astronauts to a flight lab about every six months.

They conduct scientific experiments there and ensure the maintenance of the station, which has been permanently inhabited for more than 22 years.

Crew-6 is the sixth crew to visit the International Space Station on a regular rotating mission operated by billionaire Elon Musk’s company.