HomeSpaceCrew 8 Arrived at KSC: Ready to Go Up

Crew 8 Arrived at KSC: Ready to Go Up

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Michael Barratt points up to the ISS’s Crew 7. Image by Richard P Gallagher

Anticipation and excitement by the Crew-8 astronauts for their launch to the International Space Station was palpable, with a scheduled liftoff from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida at 12:04 a.m. EST on March 1, 2024. This mission, part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, is the eighth crew rotation mission and the ninth human spaceflight to the ISS supported by a SpaceX Dragon crew capsule since the beginning of the program in 2020.

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The Crew-8 members arrived yesterday at about 2pm at the Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC. The astronauts make up an international team comprising NASA’s Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, Jeanette Epps, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin. This diverse crew brings together a wealth of experience and expertise, promising to make further contributions to the ongoing research and operations aboard the ISS.

Matthew Dominick, a Navy test pilot and engineer, serves as the commander of the mission, bringing his extensive experience in flight and space operations. He told the crowd of press reporters and photographers that one of the reasons for the delay of their launch wasn’t rocket constraints but, pad constraints, referring to the stiff competition for launchpads due to the large number of recent launches.

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Crew 8 astronauts poise with banner.

Michael Barratt, a seasoned astronaut with multiple spaceflights under his belt, assumes the role of the pilot, offering invaluable knowledge in space medicine and long-duration spaceflight. He recalled as they were landing being deep in thought about all the people that are involved in space and getting a rocket from KSC to the ISS and all the trainers who spent over a year training them to get them ready for space.

Jeanette Epps, an aerospace engineer with a rich background in scientific research, joins as a mission specialist, poised to conduct experiments and research that could benefit life both in space and on Earth. She responded to a question asked by one of the reporters about what the astronauts had requested for their last meal before boarding their capsule. She remarked nothing really special just one of her favorite dishes like buttered chicken and source.

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Completing the team, is Flight Engineer Alexander Grebenkin from Roscosmos who brings his expertise as a mission specialist. This is his first time flying on a mission. He graduated from Moscow Technical University of Communications and Informatics with a degree in radio communications, broadcasting, and television.

This mission continues to cement the partnership between NASA and SpaceX, showcasing the Falcon 9 rocket’s capabilities and the Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, in facilitating human access to space. The collaboration not only advances space exploration but also underscores the importance of international cooperation in achieving shared goals in space science and technology.

Michael Barratt gives a finial wave goodbye before leaving the press conference at the Shuttle Landing Facility.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers a unique opportunity to witness this launch, with premium launch viewing tickets available for those wishing to experience the event up close.

For those interested in following the mission’s progress, NASA provides comprehensive coverage of the prelaunch activities, launch, and docking via its various platforms, ensuring that enthusiasts can stay informed about every aspect of this exciting mission​​.

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