After spending nearly six months in microgravity, astronaut Raja Chari is set to return home. The Crew-3 astronauts who docked to the International Space Station in November last year will return to Earth later this month.
Nasa astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, as well as European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer, will return after a successful scientific mission in zero gravity which saw them not only conducting key deep space-related studies but also engaging in risky spacewalks.
The four astronauts will return on the Dragon spacecraft, which they have named Endurance, which will undock from the space station later this month and begin a return journey that will see it hit Earth’s atmosphere in a fiery re-entry.
The four astronauts will splashdown off the coast of Florida to conclude the mission.
WHAT DID RAJA CHARI-LEA CREW-3 DO IN SPACE?
The four-member Crew-3 was involved in a series of experiments onboard the Space Station. During their stay, they contributed to hundreds of experiments and technology demonstrations. They worked on a variety of plant growth experiments, testing new systems for growing crops and studying potentially drought-resistant cotton plants.
“They tested a handheld bioprinter designed to print bandages made from skin cells directly onto a wound, and a miniature scanning electron microscope. Crew members also installed a new device to support studies on fire safety in microgravity, and conducted one of the first archaeological experiments in space,” Nasa said in a statement.
The crew was involved in four spacewalks, preparing the station for upcoming solar array upgrades. (Photo: SpaceX)
The crew was also involved in four spacewalks, preparing the station for upcoming solar array upgrades by assembling and installing modification kits and successfully replacing a faulty antenna on the Port-1 truss structure.
“Research benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future exploration of the Moon and Mars starting with the agency’s Artemis mission, which includes landing the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface,” Nasa said.
CREW-4 MISSION DELAYED TO APRIL 23
Nasa delayed the Crew-4 mission, which is slated to replace the Crew-3 mission at the International Space Station. SpaceX will now launch four astronauts on April 23.
1st spacewalk didn’t disappoint & worked w/ @NASA classmate Kayla Barron installing new solar panel structure on @iss. Cameras don’t do it justice, but do give sense of how hard it can be to concentrate when there’s so much to look at. pic.twitter.com/USQPIFOiVv
— Raja Chari (@Astro_Raja) March 21, 2022
In a blog update, Nasa said the agency’s flight readiness review will be held on Friday, April 15, at Kennedy Space Centre. The review will focus on the preparedness of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, the International Space Station, and its international partners to support the flight, as well as the certification of flight readiness.
The Crew-4 mission consists of astronauts Kjell Lindgren, mission commander, Robert Hines, pilot, and Jessica Watkins, mission specialist, and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who will serve as a mission specialist, to the space station for a science expedition mission.