Sunday, 07 March, 2021


Raja Chari to lead SpaceX mission to ISS

Kayla Barron and Anne Mc Clain Kayla Barron and Anne Mc Clain
Kristine Garrett | 15 December, 2020, 21:37

Raja Chari will serve as commander while NASA's Tom Marshburn will be pilot and ESA's Matthias Maurer will serve as a mission specialist, NASA said on Monday.

The two astronauts who performed the world's first All-female Rat Spacewalk Cut previous year: Christina Koch and Jessica Mir.

The US space agency NASA has named 18 astronauts who will be given training for its Artemis mission.

Days after announcing his name for the ambitious Artemis missions to the Moon, NASA on Tuesday selected Indian-American astronaut Raja Chari to lead the next SpaceX Crew Mission to the International Space Station. "A fourth crew member will be added at a later date, following a review by NASA and its global partners", NASA stated in a release about the crew assignments. An Indian-American, Chari is a US Air Force Colonel and test pilot who has logged over 2,000 hours of flying.

Chari was among the 18 astronauts selected last week to form the Artemis Team and help pave the way for the next lunar missions, including sending the first woman and next man to walk on the lunar surface in 2024.

So far, only astronauts from NASA, ESA and the Japanese space agency JAXA have been assigned to commercial crew missions.

Maurer comes from Sankt Wendel, in the German state of Saarland.

After arriving at the orbiting laboratory, Chari, Marshburn and Maurer will become expedition crew members for the duration of their six-month stay. The first spacecraft will be launched in 2021. It will be a crewed lunar flyby mission.

The Crew-1 astronauts, who are now on station, and the Crew-2 astronauts, also are expected to coincide in their sojourns for a short time.

'Increasing the total number of astronauts aboard the station is allowing the agency to boost the number of science investigations conducted in the unique microgravity environment, ' the statement said.

NASA has been promoting the Artemis Accords as an global collection of rules of conduct in the exploration of outer space and the activities on the Moon. That commercial crew mission is scheduled for launch in the fall of 2021. Only two - Joe Aqaba and Stephanie Wilson - flew on NASA's old space shuttle.

Half of NASA's astronauts have spaceflight experience. As commercial companies focus on providing human transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, NASA is free to focus on building spacecraft and rockets for deep space missions to the Moon and Mars.

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