The International Space Station (ISS) welcomed four new astronauts on Thursday evening.
Traveling inside a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, SpaceX’s Crew-5 astronauts — Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada of NASA, Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and Anna Kikina of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency — docked with the ISS shortly before 5 p.m. ET.
This is the first space voyage for Mann, Cassada, and Kikina, while Wakata is now on his fifth orbital mission — a record for a Japanese astronaut.
A couple of hours after linking up with the station 250 miles above Earth, the four crewmembers entered the orbital outpost where they were greeted by the current inhabitants. First through the hatch was a beaming Nicole Mann, who has become the first Native American woman to go to space.
Welcome to the International Space Station, #Crew5!
The crew, including NASA's @AstroDuke, commander, and @Astro_Josh, pilot, will spend several months aboard the orbiting laboratory, conducting more than 200 experiments. Follow @Space_Station for updates. pic.twitter.com/W2yBybbdyM
— NASA (@NASA) October 6, 2022
The Crew-5’s arrival brings the astronaut count on the ISS to 11. That’s around five more than usually stay there, but with the facility described by NASA as “larger than a six-bedroom house,” there’s actually plenty of room on board.
In a week from now, there’ll be even more space available when SpaceX’s Crew-4 astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, and Samantha Cristoforetti return to Earth after a six-month stay.
Remaining on board will be NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, who arrived together in September 2022.
Later on Thursday, the entire ISS crew gathered to officially welcome the new arrivals.
Station Commander @AstroSamantha welcomes the four @SpaceX #Crew5 members aboard the station as they join the Exp 68 crew for several months of @ISS_Research. pic.twitter.com/rTwfu5KWgn
— International Space Station (@Space_Station) October 7, 2022
Crew-5 will spend the next four months working on more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations in microgravity conditions, while also conducting any necessary spacewalks. Regular media interviews and engagements with students back on Earth will form an important part of their mission, too. They’ll also need to ensure they stay fit during their time in space by way of a strict exercise regime, while downtime can be spent taking in the amazing views of Earth far below and enjoying special occasions with fellow crewmembers.
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