Four astronauts are about to spend six months living in Earth orbit, and they cannot wait.
Early in the morning on Oct. 30, NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron and the European Space Agency’s Matthias Maurer will launch aboard SpaceX’s newly named Crew Dragon capsule Endurance, kicking off the company’s Crew-3 mission.
The quartet will launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station.
“It’s hard to express adequately how excited we are as a crew,” mission specialist Barron said during a news briefing today (Oct. 7). “We’re definitely feeling ready to launch in just over three weeks
“Like the rest of the crew, [I’m] super excited to be going up and seeing the space station again,” said Crew-3 pilot Marshburn, who has made two trips to the orbiting lab, one aboard a Russian Soyuz vehicle and another on NASA’s space shuttle.
The other three crewmembers are all rookie astronauts. During the press conference, Marshburn was asked if he had some advice to share with them.
“The training has been good. You can believe in yourself. Not everything is gonna go exactly right; that’s okay,” Marshburn told Space.com during today’s briefing. “We’re all here to help each other, and that’s why they take these people to do these missions.”
What will they do in space?
As Kathy Leuders, associate administrator for the Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., mentioned in a separate briefing yesterday (Oct. 6), this mission will be chock-full of science, and the crew is excited and ready to get to work.
“As always, there’s going to be a really robust backbone of science that we’re gonna be executing throughout our entire mission,” Marshburn said today, adding that this will be aided by the December arrival of cargo to the station.
Mission specialist Maurer added that the crew will be carrying roughly 350 experiments to the station that will include research in material science, life sciences, tech demonstrations and work that will support NASA’s goal to return humans to the moon in the coming years. The crew will also participate in spacewalks, maintenance and other work aboard the station, they shared today.
The Crew-3 astronauts will be greeted by the astronauts of Expedition 66, who are already aboard the station. Additionally, private astronauts and passengers flown up on Crew Dragons, on missions operated by the space company Axiom, are expected to arrive during Crew-3’s tenure in orbit.
The crew will also share the space station for a spell with the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and a video producer, who are scheduled to arrive aboard a Soyuz for a short stay in December.