Glitch Delays Crew's Arrival at Space Station

US, Russian, Emirati crew had 'brief scenic detour'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 3, 2023 4:32 AM CST
New Crew From US, Russia, UAE Arrives at Space Station
In this image from NASA TV, a SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts docks at the International Space Station Friday, March 3, 2023.   (NASA TV via AP)

A new crew arrived at the International Space Station on Friday for a six-month mission after overcoming trouble with one of the capsule’s docking hooks. The SpaceX capsule and its four astronauts had to wait 65 feet from the orbiting lab, as flight controllers in California scrambled to come up with a software fix. It's the same problem that cropped up shortly after Thursday's liftoff. Although all 12 hooks on the capsule appeared to be fine, the switch for one of them malfunctioned. SpaceX Mission Control urged patience, telling the US, Russian, and Emirati astronauts they could stay in this holding pattern for up to two hours, the AP reports.

Once new software commands were relayed, the astronauts received the go-ahead to proceed. In the end, the linkup occurred an hour late as the capsule and space station soared 260 miles above the coast of Somalia. "After a brief scenic detour, welcome to the International Space Station," SpaceX Mission Control radioed. The new arrivals include United Arab Emirates' Sultan al-Neyadi, the first astronaut from the Arab world who will spend an extended time in space. Al-Neyadi is only the second person from the UAE to rocket into orbit. "I can’t be happier than this, seeing old friends in space, gathering as a big family. This is the essence of space exploration," al-Neyadi said upon entering the station.

Also flying up in the capsule: NASA’s Stephen Bowen, a retired Navy submariner who made three space shuttle flights, and Warren "Woody" Hoburg, a space newbie and former research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Andrei Fedyaev, a space rookie who’s retired from the Russian Air Force. SpaceX launched the four astronauts for NASA early Thursday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Their flight was delayed a few days by a clogged filter in an ignition fluid line. The space station will be home to 11 people for the next week. The newcomers will replace two NASA astronauts, a Japanese astronaut, and a Russian cosmonaut who have been on the station since October and will return in their own SpaceX capsule next week. (More International Space Station stories.)

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