On March 3, at 01:40 a.m. EST (06:40 UTC) The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour successfully docked with the ISS’s Harmony module. After a one-day trip, the Crew-6 mission arrived at the International Space Station 261 miles (420 km) over the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia after a little drama.
Dragon docked to the International Space Station pic.twitter.com/bH7d90f6P4— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 3, 2023
The spacecraft was positioned in dock position one hour early but an issue with one of the 12 hooks sensors of the Dragon forced the SpaceX ground teams to develop real-time software that fixed the problem.
The same sensor caused some trouble shortly after liftoff. Due to this sensor problem, the Endeavour wasn’t able to correctly open its nose cone. Luckily thanks to a backup system the ground teams were able to complete the task and carry on the mission.
After docking the crew conducted some standard technical checks and after 2 hours, at 03:18 am EST, the hatch was finally opened allowing the crew to join the other astronauts.
On March 2, at 12.34 a.m. EST (05:34 UTC) a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center carrying the Crew-6 mission.
The launch took place on its second attempt, the first one scheduled for Feb. 27 was scrubbed for an issue on the TEA-TEB ground system. Triethylaluminum triethylborane (TEA-TEB) is a chemical combination used to ignite the engines faster, it’s easily recognizable with the iconic green flash during ignition.
9.5 minutes after liftoff the first stage landed back on the “Just Read the Instruction” droneship. It was the first flight for this new booster. This is the fourth mission for the Dragon Endeavour capsule that was previously used for Demo-2, Crew-2, and Axiom-1 missions.
Crew-6 is the sixth rotation mission of SpaceX for NASA and their ninth human mission overall. The astronauts will conduct more than 200 experiments, including new scientific research to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.
They will replace Crew-5 mission that is scheduled to depart from Iss on March 9, 2023.
All aboard the orbiting laboratory! The four members of our @SpaceX #Crew6 mission have entered the @space_station and were greeted at their welcoming ceremony. Next: a safety briefing and orientation, then the new arrivals are off to catch some sleep. pic.twitter.com/wegjRG0qjs— NASA (@NASA) March 3, 2023
The crew is formed by two NASA astronauts, one astronaut from UAE and a Roscosmos cosmonaut.
The mission commander Stephen Bowen is a veteran of three space shuttle missions and this is his fourth spaceflight. During his career, which began in 2000, Bowen logged more than 40 days in space.
Warren Hoburg is the pilot on his first mission since his selection as an astronaut in 2017. He is responsible for spacecraft systems and performance.
The mission specialist Sultan Alneyadi is the first ever astronaut from the United Arab Emirates to fly aboard a commercial spacecraft and the first assigned to a long-duration mission to the ISS.
The cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev is the second mission specialist, working to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. His participation is part of a Dragon-Soyuz deal between NASA and Roscosmos to keep at least one astronaut and one cosmonaut on each of the crew rotation missions.