The so-called “Crew-3” – composed by 51-year-old German astronaut Matthias Maurer and NASA colleagues Thomas Marshburne, Raja Chari and Kayla Barrow will conduct several experiments on the International Space Station at an altitude of about 400 kilometers about six months. In addition, ESA astronauts will likely complete an external mission.
Crew 3 travels to space in a SpaceX spacecraft owned by Tesla founder Elon Musk. It’s the third to carry an astronaut with a SpaceX spacecraft to the International Space Station, and there’s already been a successful manned test with Crew Dragon.
The start was postponed several times – first because of bad weather, then because of a “minor medical problem” with one of the crew members, and finally another crew had to be brought back from the International Space Station.
German astronaut makes history
Maurer, at 51, is the oldest German astronaut on first flight. The man with a PhD in Materials Science left more than 8000 candidates behind after applying to join ESA and training for years on the journey to weightlessness. Maurer is expected to return to Earth in April 2022.
In fact, Maurer should have met his French colleague Thomas Bisquet on the International Space Station, who has been there since April. Because of the many transformations, Bisket and his crew — NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan MacArthur as well as Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshied — can no longer wait for “Crew 3” to arrive and return to Earth on Tuesday.
After Maurer, Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is scheduled to travel to the International Space Station in 2022 – it will be the first time that three ESA astronauts have been aboard the space station one by one. (SDA)
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