WATCH: NASA, SpaceX Launch Another Crew to International Space Station

by Alex Falls
Handout / Getty

NASA and SpaceX’s Crew-5 astronauts are on their way to the International Space Station after blasting off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday. Four people will join the ISS for a six-month orbit.

Check out the footage of the launch shared by NASA on Twitter.

The crew hitched a ride aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft. The rocket took off at 12 p.m. ET from Launch Pad 39A. Weather officials with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron predicted a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch. The skies were clear and beautiful for a successful liftoff.

NASA astronauts mission commander Nicole Mann and pilot Josh Cassada lead the crew. Joining them are astronaut Koichi Wakata from the Japanese Space Agency and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina.

This is the first spaceflight for Mann, Cassada, and Kikina, and the fifth for Wakata. Mann is now the first Native American woman in space after the successful launch. It’s also the sixth SpaceX flight with NASA astronauts since the program began.

“That was a smooth ride uphill,” Mann said after the spacecraft reached orbit. Adding that, “you got three rookies that are pretty happy to be floating in space right now.”

SpaceX and NASA Will Carry Out New Scientific Research

On Saturday, the team reported to the Kennedy Space Center in Houston to complete a full rehearsal of launch day activities before the main event. The crew was supposed to be at Kennedy Space Center already when NASA and SpaceX were targeting an Oct. 3 launch. But Hurricane Ian forced the mission to be delayed by two days.

“Missions like Crew-5 are proof we are living through a golden era of commercial space exploration. It’s a new era powered by the spirit of partnership. Fueled by scientific ingenuity. And inspired by the quest for new discoveries,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in NASA’s press release. “During their stay aboard the International Space Station, Crew-5 will conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations. Including studies on printing human organs in space and better understanding heart disease. While our eyes are focused upward on the heavens, let us never forget these missions will also better life here on Earth.”

Crew-5 will conduct new scientific research in areas such as cardiovascular health, bioprinting, and fluid behavior in microgravity to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and to benefit life on Earth.

“The International Space Station continues to serve a critical role in helping NASA and our partners understand and maximize the unique attributes of the microgravity environment,” said Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate in Washington. “I am grateful to the many people who worked to ensure a safe Crew-5 launch despite the recent hurricane so the crew can fulfill their mission to the orbiting laboratory.”