A SpaceX capsule is transporting its newest crew of four to the International Space Station

(Reuters) – The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule arrived safely at the International Space Station (ISS) after a short delay early Friday, carrying two American astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates on a six-month science mission. .

The autonomously flying spacecraft dubbed Endeavor docked with the space station shortly after 1:40 a.m. EDT (0640 GMT) Friday, about 25 hours after its launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Florida.

The pairing was confirmed as the International Space Station and capsule flew side-by-side at 17,500 mph (28,164 kph) 250 miles (420 km) above Earth across the coast of East Africa, according to a live webcast from NASA of the rendezvous.

Docking maneuvers fell behind schedule as Crew Dragon was drawing to a close on station.

SpaceX’s ground control teams parked the capsule 65 feet (20 meters) from the International Space Station for 23 minutes while they verified that all 12 locking hooks used to secure the capsule to the docking port had deployed properly, despite a faulty sensor. Shows a possible malfunction.

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The problem was finally resolved after the software bypass was activated by the ground teams.

Upon arrival, the crew went to perform a standard series of leak checks and pressure checks on the passageway between the capsule and the ISS before opening the hatches leading into the station’s interior, a process expected to take about two hours.

Once on board, the four-member team faces a busy workload of more than 200 experiments and technology demonstrations, from studies of growing human cells in space to controlling combustible materials in microgravity.

The US space agency said some of the research will help pave the way for future, long-term human missions to the Moon and beyond under NASA’s Artemis program, which will be succeeded by Apollo.

The ISS crew is also responsible for performing maintenance and repairs aboard the station, and preparing for the arrival and departure of other astronauts and cargo payloads.

The designated mission marks Crew 6, the sixth long-duration ISS team SpaceX has flown to NASA since the private rocket project founded by billionaire Elon Musk began sending American astronauts into orbit in May 2020. Musk is the CEO of electric car maker Tesla (TSLA). (.O) and the social networking platform Twitter.

The latest crew was led by Stephen Bowen, 59, a former US Navy submarine officer who logged more than 40 days in orbit as a veteran of three space shuttle flights and seven spacewalks. NASA astronaut Warren “Woody” Hoburg, 37, an electrical engineer, computer science expert, and designated commercial pilot, was making his first spaceflight.

The Crew 6 mission also featured Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, 41, the second person from his country to fly into space and the first person to launch from US soil as part of a long-term space station team.

Among the four-man Crew 6 was Russian cosmonaut Andrei Vidyaev, 42, who like Al-Neyadi is an engineer and up-and-coming astronaut.

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(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles). Editing by Jerry Doyle

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