A mission with a Russian, an Emirati and two Americans travels into space

A multicultural crew, made up of two American astronauts, one Russian and one Emirati, will take off early Monday morning from Florida aboard a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station (ISS).

Liftoff is scheduled from the Kennedy Space Center at 01:45 local time (06:45 GMT).

According to forecasts, weather conditions will be 95% favourable. The Dragon capsule in which the four passengers are traveling should dock with the ISS after a journey of approximately one day.

Sultan Al Neyadi, 41, will become the fourth astronaut from an Arab country in history, and the first from his country to spend six months in space.

"We are physically, mentally and technically prepared"he told reporters when he arrived at the space center on Tuesday. "It is a great honor to be here, and even a privilege"he added.

The mission also includes a Russian astronaut, Andrei Fediayev, just as tensions between Washington and Moscow are at an all-time high, a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It was already planned before the Moscow offensive that the Russians would travel with SpaceX and the Americans with the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, an exchange program that was maintained. The ISS constitutes one of the last fields of cooperation between the two countries.

Asked about the impact of these political tensions on the crew, the mission commander, the American Stephen Bowen, replied on Tuesday that it was "Rarely do these topics come up in everyday conversations."and that he and his companions remained "mission focused".

named "Crew-6"this is the sixth regular mission to travel to the ISS aboard a SpaceX ship.

The capsule that will transport them, called Endeavour, has already flown into space three times.

NASA contracts the services of the American company to send its astronauts approximately every six months to the laboratory.

There they carry out scientific experiments and ensure the maintenance of the station, inhabited for more than 22 years.

Crew-6 will replace the four members of Crew-5 (two Americans, one Russian and one Japanese), who arrived in October 2022 and will return to Earth aboard their own SpaceX ship.

Also on board the ISS are three other passengers (two Russians and one American), who arrived on a Soyuz spacecraft.

The Russian rocket suffered a leak in December. The country’s space agency Roscosmos sent a rescue craft, which successfully docked with the ISS on Saturday.

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