A team of four individuals, consisting of three men and one woman, travels to Florida to prepare for a launch to the space station on Friday.

A team of four individuals, consisting of three men and one woman, travels to Florida to prepare for a launch to the space station on Friday.

On Sunday, a group of three astronauts from NASA and their Russian crewmate traveled to the Kennedy Space Center in preparation for their launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Friday. This marks the beginning of their scheduled six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

Returning from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the commander of Crew 8, Matthew Dominick, along with co-pilot Michael Barratt, Jeanette Epps, and cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin, touched down at the 3-mile-long runway at the Florida spaceport at 1:45 p.m. EST. Barratt has been on two previous space missions, while the other three members of the crew are experiencing their first flight.

The Crew 8 astronauts, moments after arrival at the Kennedy Space Center to prepare for launch to the International Space Station. Left to right: Russian cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin, NASA physician-astronaut Mike Barratt, commander Matthew Dominick and Jeanette Epps.


Dominick exclaimed while standing on the runway at the Cape, “I feel like a kid in a candy store! This is an extraordinary moment to be a part of space exploration.”

Astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli from the European Space Agency, Andreas Mogensen from Japan, Satoshi Furukawa, and cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov.

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Following a seven-day transition period to assist the Crew 8 astronauts in becoming acquainted with the intricacies of station procedures, Moghbeli, Mogensen, Furukawa, and Borisov will undock on March 8 and descend back to Earth, landing in the waters off the coast of Florida to conclude their 196-day mission.

“I can hardly believe that this journey is coming to an end,” wrote Moghbeli, a seasoned pilot for the Marine Corps, on her social media account. “This is the realization of a childhood dream for me. I was worried that I would reach this point and be let down after holding such lofty aspirations my whole life, but if anything, this experience has exceeded all my hopes.”

NASA and Roscosmos have initiated the first step in a series of actions to replace the seven crew members on the space station with a new group of operators. This rotation of crew members typically occurs twice per year.

On March 21, Roscosmos intends to launch Oleg Novitskiy, Marina Vasilevskaya, and Tracy Dyson on the Soyuz MS-25/71S ferry ship, joining Crew 8 currently on board the ISS and Crew 7 back on Earth.

The unofficial name for this mission is a “taxi flight,” where a brief crew delivers a new Soyuz to the station and returns home on a Soyuz that has been in space for six months. However, this particular taxi flight is necessary for Kononenko and Chub to complete their year-long stay in space.

Novitskiy and Vasilevskaya, along with NASA’s O’Hara, will be coming back to Earth on April 2nd via the Soyuz MS-24/70S spacecraft, which also transported Kononenko, Chub, and O’Hara to the station in September of last year.

In September, Kononenko and Chub will come back to Earth with Dyson on the Soyuz MS-25/71S spacecraft which was brought by Novitskiy.



Source: cbsnews.com