SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center this morning at 3:27AM ET, NASA announced today. The rocket pushed four astronauts on NASA’s Crew-7 mission into orbit before the Crew Dragon capsule they were aboard docked with the International Space Station (ISS) at 9:16AM ET.
The mission carried astronauts from four countries to the ISS — Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA, the European Space Agency’s Andreas Mogensen, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furakawa, and Konstantin Borisov, a Russian cosmonaut. After the Dragon spacecraft — named Endurance — autonomously docked with the ISS, it brought the station’s crew number up to 11. In a few days, the three members of the previous NASA mission, Expedition 69, will return to Earth.
“Aboard station,” says NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, “the crew will conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations to prepare for missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, all while benefitting humanity on Earth.”
The astronauts remained on board the capsule until about 10:58AM ET, reported CNN, when the hatch was opened, allowing them to officially join the seven other crew members already on the ISS. Here’s video of the docking procedure, complete with footage from the capsule and the station:
The launch was previously scheduled for Friday but NASA announced Friday it was pushed back so mission managers could confirm environmental control and life support systems were properly functioning. The mission was already delayed multiple times, including on two occasions to make way for a separate mission to send up the massive Jupiter 3 communications satellite.
Update August 27th, 2023, 3:16PM ET: Added that the Dragon capsule carrying the Crew-7 astronauts successfully docked with the International Space Station.