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Two American astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates were safely on an orbital path to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday as the SpaceX spacecraft neared a scheduled docking rendezvous with the ISS. laboratory, as announced by NASA.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon autonomous space capsule is expected to dock with the ISS this morning, about 25 hours after its launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Control of the spacecraft’s navigational controls will transfer from SpaceX’s space mission control center near Los Angeles to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston when the Crew Dragon capsule is ready for docking with the ISS.

The four-member team is expected to remain on the space station for six months, during which they will carry out more than 200 scientific experiments, as well as related technological tests, with research ranging from the growth of human cells in space to the control of behavior of flammable materials in microgravity conditions.

Some of the research experiments will help pave the way for future long-duration manned space missions to the Moon under NASA’s Artemis program, the successor to the Apollo program, according to the US space agency.

The mission, codenamed Crew 6, is the sixth long-duration crew to the ISS launched by SpaceX on behalf of NASA since the private space launch consortium founded by billionaire Elon Musk began sending American astronauts. into space orbit in May 2020.

Musk is the executive director of the electric vehicle company Tesla, but also of the social networking platform Twitter.