Official SpaceX Crew-8 portrait. Credits: NASA/Bill Stafford

SpaceX Successfully Launched the Crew-8 Mission To The ISS

On March 4, 2024, SpaceX successfully launched the Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The flight is the eighth crew rotation mission

On March 4, 2024, SpaceX successfully launched the SpaceX Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The flight is the eighth crew rotation mission in collaboration with SpaceX to the ISS under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

At 03:53 UTC, the Falcon 9 lifted off from LC-39A carrying the Crew Dragon Endeavour. Two and a half minutes into flight the second stage separated from the brand-new booster, signed B1083, which landed about 5 minutes later at Landing Zone 1 in Cape Canaveral. Twelve minutes after liftoff the second stage finally released the Dragon capsule in orbit towards the ISS.

The spacecraft is expected to dock at the Harmony module on March 5, at ~08:00 p.m. UTC, and the Crew-8 astronauts will be welcomed by Expedition 70 members already onboard the ISS.

After the handover period, Crew-7 astronauts, NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov will undock from the station and splash down off the coast of Florida.


The crew

Crew-8 astronaut Matthew Dominick. Credits: NASA/Bill Stafford

Matthew Dominick is the mission Commander and Crew-8 is his first spaceflight.

He was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2017 and holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in systems engineering.

Dominick also graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and served as a test pilot specializing in testing aircraft carriers’ landings and catapult launches.

Michael Barratt is the Crew-8 Pilot and this is his third visit to the space station. With his two previous spaceflights, Soyuz TMA-14 and STS-133, he has spent a total of 212 days in space.

He holds a bachelor’s in zoology and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. He then specialized in aerospace medicine.

After nine years working at NASA as a flight surgeon, Barratt joined the astronaut corps in 2000.

Michael Barratt, at the age of 64, will also break Tom Marshburn’s record as the oldest person to complete a long-duration spaceflight to the ISS.

Crew-8 astronaut Mike Barratt. Credits: NASA/Bill Stafford
Crew-8 astronaut Jeanette Epps. Credits: NASA/Bill Stafford

Jeanette Epps is serving as Mission Specialist and is working to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight.

She holds a bachelor’s in physics, a master’s in science, and a doctorate in aerospace engineering.

Jeanette Epps was selected as an astronaut in July 2009 and has served as a crew support astronaut for two expeditions and as lead capsule communicator at NASA Johnson.

She was previously assigned to NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission but was reassigned to the Crew-8 to allow Boeing time to complete the development of the Starliner spacecraft.

Cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin is serving as Mission Specialist and is working with Jeanette Epps to monitor the spacecraft.

He graduated from Irkutsk High Military Aviation School in Russia, majoring in engineering, maintenance, and repair of aircraft radio navigation systems.

He also graduated from Moscow Technical University of Communications and Informatics with a degree in radio communications, broadcasting, and television.

His presence onboard a SpaceX spacecraft is part of the Soyuz-Dragon exchange system aimed at maintaining at least one NASA Astronaut and one Roscosmos Cosmonaut on each of the crew rotation missions.

Crew-8 cosmonaut Aleksandr Grebenkin. Credits: NASA/Bill Stafford


The mission

The SpaceX Crew-8 astronauts will live and work on the space station for about six months.

Across their six-month stay in orbit, Expedition 71 will welcome the Soyuz MS-25 visiting mission and Boeing’s Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT).

They will also see, hopefully, the first docking of Sierra Space’s spaceplane, Dream Chaser, and the arrival of two cargo ships: SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon and Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft.

Dream Chaser Tenacity spaceplane. Credits: Sierra Space
Dream Chaser Tenacity spaceplane. Credits: Sierra Space

On board the orbiting laboratory, the astronauts will perform studies of neurological organoids, plant growth, and shifts in body fluids.

Michael Barratt joins a group of astronauts participating in an experiment called CIPHER (Complement of Integrated Protocols for Human Exploration Research) that is helping to learn how extended spaceflights can change the human body.


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Benedetta Facini

Benedetta Facini

Italian physics student and aspiring astronaut.
I talk about space and astronauts on social media

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