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4 Astronauts from 4 Countries Launch to Join New Space Station Crew

Four astronauts representing four different countries have embarked on a journey to the International Space Station. They launched on Saturday and are expected to reach the orbiting lab on Sunday. These astronauts will replace the previous crew that has been living on the space station since March.

The multinational crew consists of a NASA astronaut, along with astronauts from Denmark, Japan, and Russia. This is the first U.S. launch where each spacecraft seat is occupied by an astronaut from a different country. Typically, NASA includes its own astronauts on its SpaceX taxi flights, but due to a timing coincidence, this launch has a diverse crew.

The astronauts expressed their unity and excitement for the mission. The European Space Agency’s director general emphasized the importance of international cooperation in space exploration.

The backgrounds of the astronauts are varied and unique. For example, the NASA astronaut, Jasmin Moghbeli, is a Marine pilot who hopes to inspire Iranian girls to aim high. Andreas Mogensen, from the European Space Agency, previously worked on oil rigs. Satoshi Furukawa of Japan spent a decade as a surgeon before becoming an astronaut. And Russia’s Konstantin Borisov turned to engineering after studying business and runs a freediving school in Moscow.

One of the advantages of having an international crew is the diversity of food options. The astronauts will enjoy Persian herbed stew, Danish chocolate, and Japanese mackerel during their mission.

SpaceX’s first-stage booster successfully returned to Cape Canaveral, providing an extra treat for spectators. The launch was initially delayed for data reviews and almost faced another delay due to a fuel leak in the capsule’s thruster system. Fortunately, the leak was deemed non-threatening just minutes before liftoff.

Another NASA astronaut, along with two Russian cosmonauts, will launch to the space station in mid-September under a barter agreement. SpaceX has now completed eight crew launches for NASA, while Boeing, another commercial space company, is still working towards its first crewed launch.

The exploration of space truly showcases the power of international collaboration.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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