SpaceX launched a Russian cosmonaut and a Native American woman to space for the first time

Crew-5 includes a Russian astronaut and the first Native American woman in space.
Chris Young
Crew Dragon Endurance approaches the ISS.
Crew Dragon Endurance approaches the ISS.

Source: SpaceX / Twitter 

SpaceX's latest crewed launch has reached the International Space Station (ISS).

The Crew-5 astronaut mission launched at noon local time on Wednesday, October 5, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX used a Falcon 9 rocket to lift a crew of four astronauts — including a Russian astronaut and the first Native American woman to go to space — aboard Crew Dragon capsule Endurance. They docked and are now aboard the ISS after a 29-hour flight, as per a NASA report.

SpaceX Crew-5's international crew

Endurance latched onto the ISS's Harmony module at 5:01 p.m. EDT (2101 GMT), and the docking operation was completed roughly 10 minutes later. The hatch between ISS and Endurance opened at 6:45 p.m. EDT (2245 GMT), allowing the Crew-5 astronauts to join seven other crew members already aboard the orbital station.

The Crew-5 astronauts — NASA's Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan's Koichi Wakata, and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina — will spend five months aboard the station.

Mann is the first Native American woman in space, while Kikina is the first Russian cosmonaut to fly on a SpaceX launch system.

Last month, NASA's Frank Rubio became the first U.S. astronaut to launch to the ISS on a Russian Soyuz rocket since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Since then, Kikina has been the first Russian to launch into space from U.S. soil. Both were already contracted to launch before tensions escalated earlier this year between the West and Russia.

Western governments, including U.S. President Biden's administration, retaliated to Russia's invasion of Ukraine with unprecedented sanctions targeting the country's aerospace industry and other sectors.

Of all the Crew-5 members, Wakata is the only one to have been to space. The Japanese space agency astronaut had previously flown to space five times.

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Dragon Endurance is securely docked

The Dragon Endurance capsule has already lifted astronauts to the ISS and back for SpaceX and NASA's Crew-3 mission that launched in November 2021. Endurance featured a new heat shield, nose cone, and parachute for this flight.

Four of the seven crew members that were already aboard the ISS before Crew-5 arrived were part of SpaceX's Crew-4 mission. Now, the Crew-4 astronauts are set to depart the orbital lab in about a week's time, weather permitting.

The crew capsule was flying above the west coast of Africa when it docked with the ISS. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted an extended video of the docking process. You can watch the entire approach and docking process in SpaceX's YouTube video below.

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