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4 Astronauts from 4 Countries Launch to Join New Space Station Crew

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Four astronauts from four different countries blasted off to the International Space Station on Saturday. They are expected to arrive at the orbiting lab on Sunday, replacing the four astronauts who have been living aboard since March.

The NASA astronaut was accompanied by astronauts from Denmark, Japan, and Russia. This launch marks the first time that every seat on a U.S. spacecraft was occupied by a member of a different country. It was a result of timing and not deliberate planning.

During the predawn liftoff, the astronauts clasped each other’s gloved hands as they reached orbit. NASA’s Jasmin Moghbeli, one of the astronauts on the mission, stated, “We’re a united team with a common mission.” NASA’s Ken Bowersox, space operations chief, described the launch as “beautiful” and “exciting” with the international crew.

The crew consists of Marine pilot and commander Jasmin Moghbeli, the European Space Agency’s Andreas Mogensen, Japan’s Satoshi Furukawa, and Russia’s Konstantin Borisov. The European Space Agency’s director general, Josef Aschbacher, emphasized the importance of international cooperation in the exploration of space.

The backgrounds of the astronauts vary greatly. Moghbeli’s parents fled Iran during the 1979 revolution, and she was born in Germany and raised in New York. Mogensen worked on oil rigs before becoming Denmark’s first astronaut. Furukawa spent a decade as a surgeon and has previously visited the International Space Station. Borisov, on the other hand, turned to engineering after studying business and is a freediving instructor.

One of the advantages of having an international crew is the variety of food available, including Persian herbed stew, Danish chocolate, and Japanese mackerel.

The launch was delayed for a day due to additional data reviews and a small fuel leak in the thruster system. SpaceX engineers resolved the issues, and the first-stage booster returned to Cape Canaveral after liftoff.

SpaceX has launched a total of eight crews for NASA, while Boeing, which was hired at the same time, has yet to fly astronauts. Boeing’s crew capsule is not expected to resume flights until 2024.

The launch is part of ongoing efforts to conduct scientific research and exploration in space. International collaboration is crucial in achieving these goals.

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