Four astronauts were launched to the International Space Station (ISS) from Florida as part of collaboration between NASA and SpaceX under the Commercial Crew Program.
The mission is called Crew-2 and is the second crew rotation of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with international partners.
About the Crew-2 Mission:
- It is the second crew rotation of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with international partners.
- Out of the four astronauts, two are from NASA and two are from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
- Crew-2 astronauts will join the members of Expedition 65 (65th long duration expedition to the International Space Station).
- They will stay aboard the ISS for six months during which time they will conduct science experiments in low-Earth orbit.
- Their central focus during this time will be to continue a series of Tissue Chips in Space studies.
About the Commercial Crew Program:
- NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is a partnership between NASA and private industry to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
- Unlike previous human spaceflight programs, NASA is a customer buying flights from commercial providers. The agency does not own or operate the spacecraft.
- The program is helping to lower the cost of spaceflight and potentially create a new commercial market for humans in space.
- By encouraging private companies to provide crew transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, NASA can focus on building spacecraft and rockets meant for deep space exploration missions.
- Boeing and SpaceX were selected by NASA in September 2014 to develop transportation systems meant to transfer crew from the US to the ISS.
- Tissue Chips are small models of human organs that contain multiple cell types that behave similarly to the human body.
- According to NASA, these chips can potentially speed up the process of identifying safe and effective drugs and vaccines.
- Scientists can use these tissue chips in space to study diseases that affect specific human organs, which would take months or years to develop on Earth.
Source: Indian Express