Crew-8 launches to space station | Space

Crew8 Liftoff1.jpg

WASHINGTON — A Crew Dragon spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station with four Americans and Russians on board after a launch March 3.

A Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at 10:53 p.m. Eastern on NASA’s Crew-8 mission. The Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavour separated from the upper stage 12 minutes after liftoff.

Endeavour is scheduled to dock with the Harmony module of the ISS at about 3 a.m. March 5. It will deliver to the station NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt and Jeanette Epps and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin for a six-month stay.

The launch had been scheduled for early March 1 but delayed because of forecasts of poor weather along the launch corridor in the event of an abort. NASA and SpaceX started preparations for a launch on the evening of March 2 but called off the launch more than three hours before liftoff because of weather.

The mission is the first for Dominick, the Crew-8 commander, and mission specialists Epps and Grebenkin. Barratt, the pilot, is making his third flight, having flown to the ISS on a Soyuz for a long-duration mission in 2009 and who went to the station again in 2011 on the STS-133 shuttle mission.

The flight is a long time coming for Epps in particular, who is the last member of the 2009 astronaut class to go to space. Epps was assigned to a Soyuz mission to the station in 2018 but abruptly removed six months in advance for reasons that NASA did not disclose and which Epps said in a late 2018 event were not explained to her. She was later assigned to the first operational flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner mission before being reassigned to Crew-8 after continued Starliner delays.

“I was confident that I would fly,” Epps said a January press conference about Crew-8. “The way I kept my spirits up is that we continue to train weekly, daily. We train vigorously for any mission that we’re assigned to. So, I’ve been pretty busy over the…

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