NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev entered their official quarantine period beginning Sunday, Feb. 12, in preparation for their flight to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission.
The process of flight crew health stabilization is a routine part of final preparations for all missions to the space station. Spending the final two weeks before liftoff in quarantine will help ensure Crew-6 members are healthy, as well as protect the astronauts already on the space station.
Crew members can choose to quarantine at home if they are able to maintain quarantine conditions prior to travel to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. If quarantining at home is not possible – for example, if a household member can’t maintain quarantine because of job or school commitments – crew members have the option of living in the Astronaut Quarantine Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston until they leave for Kennedy.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission is the sixth crew rotation mission with SpaceX to the space station, and the seventh flight of Dragon with humans aboard. The mission is targeted to launch no earlier than 2:07 a.m. EST Sunday, Feb. 26, on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft – named Endeavour – atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy. Mission operations teams will be closely monitoring the weather leading up to liftoff.
After docking, the Crew-6 crewmates will be welcomed inside the station by the seven-member crew of Expedition 68. Following a handover on the space station with Crew-6, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 crew members will undock from the space station.
The final crew member for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission, currently targeted to launch to the International Space Station in spring 2023, has been announced. The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) named Sultan Alneyadi to spend approximately six months aboard the space station as part of Expeditions 68/69. Mission Specialist Alneyadi joins NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, who will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, for the mission, and cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev of Roscosmos.
To ensure continuous U.S. presence aboard the International Space Station, NASA signed a contract in 2021 with Axiom Space to fly a NASA astronaut on a Soyuz rotation in exchange for a seat on a future U.S. commercial spacecraft. Axiom announced an agreement on April 29, 2022, with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center of the UAE to fly its crew member in the seat.
The UAE astronaut corps has been in training with NASA at the Johnson Space Center since 2019, including spacewalk training, onboard systems and T-38 training. Alneyadi will continue crewmember training for the Dragon spacecraft and international partner segments.