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NASA and ESA announce that four astronauts will serve as SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the ISS in 2021

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have officially announced the crew members for the next SpaceX Crew mission that will soar to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2021.

The three astronauts are NASA’s Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, along with ESA’s Matthias Maurer – a fourth member is expected to be added in the near future.

Chari will serve as commander with Mashburn as pilot and Maurer will be employed as a mission specialist.

The team will join the expedition crew members on the orbiting laboratory, which they will call home for an extended stay of six months.

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The three astronauts are NASA’s Raja Chari (pictured) and Tom Marshburn, along with ESA’s Matthias Maurer – a fourth member is expected to be added in the near future. Chari will serve as commander with Mashburn as pilot and Maurer will be employed as a mission specialist

SpaceX Crew-3 follows two previous successful missions to the ISS, with the most crucial being Demo-2 that pioneered the path for their predecessors.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley took off from Kennedy Space on May 30 – the first time in nearly a decade an American rocket took off for the ISS from US soil.

And now, four more space fairing heroes are set to take that exact journey.

Chari will be heading to space for the first time next year, just three years after becoming a NASA astronaut.

Marshburn was born in Statesville, North Carolina and became a NASA astronaut in 2004. But before joining the American space agency, Marshburn served as flight surgeon at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston

Marshburn was born in Statesville, North Carolina and became a NASA astronaut in 2004. But before joining the American space agency, Marshburn served as flight surgeon at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston

He was born in Milwaukee, but considers Cedar Falls, Iowa, his hometown.

Before becoming an astronaut, Chari served in the US Air Force as a colonel and completed more than 2,500 hours of light throughout his career.

Chair was also chosen to be member of the Artemis Team and could soar to the moon in 2024.

Marshburn was born in Statesville, North Carolina and became a NASA astronaut in 2004.

But before joining the American space agency, Marshburn served as flight surgeon at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

He was also the medical operations lead for the International Space Station, making the 2021 mission his third visit to the station and his second long-duration mission.

Marshburn previously served as a crew member of STS-127 in 2009 and Expedition 34/35, which concluded in 2013.

ESA astronaut Mauer is from  Sankt Wendel, in the German state of Saarland and will also be traveling to space for the first time with the Crew-3 mission. 

Prior to a career as an astronaut, Maurer held a number of engineering and research roles, both in a university setting and at ESA. 

ESA astronaut Mauer is from Sankt Wendel, in the German state of Saarland and will also be traveling to space for the first time with the Crew-3 mission. Prior to a career as an astronaut, Maurer held a number of engineering and research roles, both in a university setting and at ESA

ESA astronaut Mauer is from Sankt Wendel, in the German state of Saarland and will also be traveling to space for the first time with the Crew-3 mission. Prior to a career as an astronaut, Maurer held a number of engineering and research roles, both in a university setting and at ESA

SpaceX Crew-3 follows two previous successful missions to the ISS, with the most crucial being Demo-2 that pioneered the path for their predecessors. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (right) and Doug Hurley (left) took off from Kennedy Space on May 30

SpaceX Crew-3 follows two previous successful missions to the ISS, with the most crucial being Demo-2 that pioneered the path for their predecessors. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (right) and Doug Hurley (left) took off from Kennedy Space on May 30

In 2016, Maurer spent 16 days on an undersea mission as part of a NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO, space analog. 

‘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,’ NASA shared in a statement.

‘The Crew-1 astronauts, who are currently 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 goal of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program  is to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective crew access to the space station and low-Earth orbit in partnership with American aerospace industry. 

NASA and SpaceX have a contract to perform a total of six crew missions to the ISS using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule.

EXPLAINED: THE $100 BILLION INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION SITS 250 MILES ABOVE THE EARTH

The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

It has been permanently staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000. 

Research conducted aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low-gravity or oxygen.

ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.

The US space agency, Nasa, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, a level of funding that is endorsed by the Trump administration and Congress.

A U.S. House of Representatives committee that oversees Nasa has begun looking at whether to extend the program beyond 2024.

Alternatively the money could be used to speed up planned human space initiatives to the moon and Mars.


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