US, Japanese, Russian, and Danish astronauts will use Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket to launch to the International Space Station.

US, Japanese, Russian, and Danish astronauts will use Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket to launch to the International Space Station.

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A SpaceX rocket, led by Elon Musk, has taken off on a mission to the International Space Station, carrying astronauts from the United States, Japan, Russia, and Denmark. The Dragon spacecraft, propelled by a Falcon 9 rocket, lifted off at 3:27 am (07:27 GMT) from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A crowd of approximately 10,000 people gathered to witness the launch. The astronauts are expected to arrive at the International Space Station in their SpaceX capsule on Sunday, replacing the four astronauts who have been residing there since March.

This launch marked the first instance where every seat on the spacecraft was occupied by astronauts from different countries. Previously, NASA included two or three of its own astronauts on SpaceX taxi flights. This unique arrangement was a result of timing and assignment decisions, according to officials.

Jasmin Moghbeli, a Marine pilot and NASA’s commander for this mission, highlighted the diverse background of the crew members and how their collaboration reflects the potential of working together harmoniously. The crew consists of Jasmin Moghbeli, Andreas Mogensen from the European Space Agency, Satoshi Furukawa from Japan, and Konstantin Borisov from Russia. The European Space Agency’s director general, Josef Aschbacher, emphasized the importance of international cooperation in space exploration.

The astronauts have distinct paths that led them to space. Jasmin Moghbeli’s parents fled Iran during the 1979 revolution, and she was born in Germany and raised in New York. Andreas Mogensen worked on oil rigs and had a background in engineering. Satoshi Furukawa, a former surgeon, became Japan’s astronaut. Konstantin Borisov, a newcomer to space travel, shifted from business to engineering and runs a freediving school in Moscow.

The international crew also noted the variety of foods available on the mission, including Persian herbed stew, Danish chocolate, and Japanese mackerel. The launch was delayed by a day due to additional data reviews for the capsule’s life-support system.

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Another NASA astronaut is scheduled to launch to the station from Kazakhstan in mid-September, along with two Russian cosmonauts. SpaceX has successfully launched eight crews for NASA, while Boeing, hired at the same time, is yet to fly astronauts due to issues with its crew capsule, which is grounded until 2024.

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