Washington [US]December 15 (ANI): The National Aeronautics and Space Agency and the European Space Agency (ESA) have selected three astronauts as crew members for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station, which is expected to launch in the fall of 2021.
According to NASA, the trio of its astronauts Raja Chari, an Indian-American colonel in the US Air Force, and Tom Marshburn, who will act as commander and pilot, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will act as mission, exist specialist. A fourth crew member will be added at a later date following a review by NASA and its international partners.
This is the first spaceflight for Chari, who became a NASA astronaut in 2017. He was born in Milwaukee, but considers Cedar Falls, Iowa, his hometown. He is a Colonel in the US Air Force and joins the mission with extensive experience as a test pilot. He has accumulated more than 2,500 flight hours in his career. Chari was selected to join the Artemis team earlier this month and can now be used on a future lunar mission.
Marshburn is from Statesville, North Carolina and became an astronaut in 2004. Prior to serving in the Astronaut Corps, the doctor was an aviation surgeon at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and later became director of medical operations for the International Space Station. “The Crew 3 mission will be his third visit to the space station and his second long-term mission. Marshburn was previously a 2009 crew member on STS-127 and Expedition 34/35, which was completed in 2013,” NASA said.
Maurer comes from Sankt Wendel in Saarland. Like Chari, Maurer will undertake his first voyage into space with the Crew 3 mission. In 2016, Maurer spent 16 days on an underwater mission as part of NASA’s space analogue NEEMO (Extreme Environment Mission Operations).
When Chari, Marshburn, and Maurer arrive at the orbit laboratory, they will become expedition crew members for the duration of their six-month residency. “The crew will have a slight overlap with the Crew 2 astronauts, who are expected to launch in the spring of 2021. This will not be the first commercial crew mission to overlap. The Crew 1 astronauts currently on the station are, and the Crew 2 astronauts are expected to coincide even for short periods of time in their stays. By increasing the total number of astronauts on board the station, the agency can increase the number of scientific studies conducted in the unique zero gravity environment. “Be the Third rotation mission of the SpaceX human space transport crew and fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo 2 test flight, to the space station via NASA’s commercial crew program. The aim of the program, in cooperation with the American aerospace industry, is to ensure safe, reliable and inexpensive access for the crew to the space station and to the near-earth orbit.
In addition, the station is a critical test bed for NASA to understand and overcome the challenges of long-term space travel. (ANI)