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SpaceX, NASA Launch 5th Crew Rotation Mission to Orbiting Laboratory

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SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance spacecraft carrying four astronauts took off Wednesday as part of the company’s fifth crew rotation mission to the International Space Station with NASA.

The Crew-5 mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program and will stay aboard the ISS for six months to carry out scientific research in bioprinting, cardiovascular health, fluid behavior in microgravity and other areas, NASA said Wednesday.

During their stay aboard the International Space Station, Crew-5 will conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations, including studies on printing human organs in space and better understanding heart disease,” said said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

The spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, astronaut Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina is expected to reach the orbiting laboratory on Thursday, Oct. 6, and dock to the station’s Harmony module.

Mann serves as mission commander and Cassada as the spacecraft pilot, while Wakata and Kikina act as mission specialists responsible for monitoring Dragon Endurance during the flight’s launch and re-entry phases.

NASA teams will monitor ISS operations from the mission control center at Johnson Space Center in Houston and SpaceX will track automatic maneuvers of its spacecraft through its facility in Hawthorne, California.