A Russian cosmonaut transported by SpaceX has arrived at the International Space Station

This joint flight between the US and Russia was particularly symbolic amid the war in Ukraine. “We can’t wait to get to work,” said US astronaut Nicole Mann shortly after docking the spacecraft to the space station (ISS).

It was SpaceX’s fifth regular mission to the ISS on behalf of NASA, but the first to carry a Russian cosmonaut.

A long trip of around 30 hours

In addition to Anna Kikina and Nicole Mann, the crew called Crew-5 also consists of Japanese Koichi Wakata and American astronaut Josh Cassada. The SpaceX rocket took off Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, propelling the Dragon capsule into space.

This ship slowly approached the ISS on Thursday, after a long journey of about 30 hours. Members of Crew-5 will spend about five months in this flying laboratory, about 400 kilometers above sea level. They join the seven people already on board (two Russians, four Americans and one Italian).

A long-planned astronaut exchange program

A few days of handover is planned with the four members of Crew-4 before they are sent back to Earth. They are due to land off the US coast at a date yet to be announced. Two weeks ago, an American took off for the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.

This long-planned astronaut exchange program has been maintained despite very high tensions between the US and Russia since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Ensuring the operation of the ISS has thus become one of the very few topics of cooperation between the two countries.

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