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Astronaut Raja Chari part of SpaceX Crew-3 mission

Washington, Oct 7 (IANS) An Indian-American astronaut is part of NASA-SpaceX’s third mission to the International Space Station.

“NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission will carry NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket to the space station,” the US space agency said in a statement.

The four astronauts will lift off to space on October 30 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the statement added.

Crew-3 is the SpaceX’s fifth crewed flight to space and fourth to the International Space Station.

Indian-American Chari will serve as the commander of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Crew-3 mission. He also will serve as an Expedition 66 flight engineer aboard the station.

Born in Milwaukee, he became a NASA astronaut in 2017 and this will be his first spaceflight. He is also a colonel in the US Air Force and has extensive experience as a test pilot with more than 2,500 hours of flight time.

The Crew-3 mission follows Inspiration4, an all-civilian crewed mission that lifted off on September 15 for an orbital journey aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

With Crew-3, “the four crew going up are going to be doing even more science,” reported Kathy Leuders, associate administrator for the Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA as saying.

Leuders added that the crew will be continuing to test “our exploration risks and pushing the bounds of technology and continuing to establish our key international partner relationships.”

This expedition “will have experiments that crossover from science and utilization that we do as well as technology development”, added Joel Montalbano, the manager of NASA’s ISS program.

He specified that there will be experiments on board that include human research as well as rodent research and other experimentation similar to what’s been done previously on the station.

But, while the astronauts launching will spend the vast majority of their six-month station stay working hard, they will have a bit of room for some festive fun. The crew will be arriving just in time for Halloween and will also be living in the lab during the winter holidays,the report said.

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