KENNEDY SPACE CENTER /US/, October 5. /TASS/. The members of the Crew-5 mission, including Russia’s cosmonaut Anna Kikina on Wednesday boarded SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft before launch to the International Space Station (ISS). The pre-launch procedures are streamed on the website of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The crew, which also includes NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, as well as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s astronaut Koichi Wakata, boarded the spacecraft at launch pad 39-A of the John F. Kennedy Space Center (Florida) at 09:24 (16:24) Moscow time. Before taking the elevator to the top of the launch tower, Kikina and Wakata raised their heads to take a look at the rocket.
Experts will now once again check all the systems of the spacecraft, as well as the crewmembers’ spacesuits. After that, Crew Dragon's hatches will be closed. The day before, NASA said that with a probability of 90% weather conditions would allow the launch on Wednesday.
Kikina will be the first Russian cosmonaut to travel to the ISS under the cross-flight program concluded between NASA and Roscosmos. The launch of Crew Dragon is planned to be carried out with the Falcon 9 launch vehicle at noon (19:00 Moscow time). Initially, the launch was scheduled for October 3, but NASA experts postponed it twice due to Hurricane Ian. The automatic docking with the ISS is due at 16:57 on October 6, US East Coast time (23:57 Moscow time). The crew will stay on the ISS for 145 days.
On July 15, Roscosmos announced the signing of an agreement on joint cross-flights by Russian and US cosmonauts to the ISS. The commander of the Roscosmos cosmonaut team, Oleg Kononenko, said the agreement envisaged three flights by Russian cosmonauts on the US spacecraft Crew Dragon. Under the cross-flight program US astronaut Frank Rubio set off for the ISS aboard the Russian spacecraft K. E. Tsiolkovsky (Soyuz MS-22) from the Baikonur cosmodrome on September 21.