Meet the astronauts that SpaceX will send into space

As reported by Digital Look, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to take off this weekend towards the International Space Station (ISS), carrying a team of four astronauts aboard the Crew-8 mission. Originally scheduled for the early hours of this Friday (1st), the launch was postponed due to bad weather at the location.

The rocket will take off from platform 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 1:16 am (Brasília time) in the early hours of Saturday (2) to Sunday (3). The vehicle will carry the Dragon Endeavor capsule on top, which will contain three NASA astronauts (Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt and Jeannette Epps) and a Russian cosmonaut (Alexander Grebenkin).

Dominick will be the commander of the Crew-8 flight, while Barratt (the only one among the four who has been to space before) will be the pilot. Epps and Grebenkin will serve as mission specialists.

The Dragon Endeavor spacecraft is expected to dock at the orbital laboratory on Monday (4). Members of the Crew-8 mission will replace the Crew-7 astronauts, who will return to Earth a week later.

Who are the astronauts of the SpaceX Crew-8 mission

Over the course of their six-month stay in space, astronauts will perform more than 200 scientific experiments and technology demonstrations, including research that will support human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. Learn more about the crew below:

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Matthew Dominick

Matthew Dominick is a 42-year-old U.S. Navy test pilot who joined NASA as an astronaut candidate in 2017. He has more than 1,600 flight hours in 28 aircraft, 400 aircraft carrier landings, and 61 combat missions to his credit. curriculum.

Matthew Dominick, Crew-8 mission commander. Credit: NASA

With a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of San Diego, with minors in physics and mathematics, he was designated a naval aviator in 2007. He completed F/A-18 Super Hornet training and then served two deployments with Strike Fighter Squadron 143 (VFA-143) before attending the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he earned a master's degree in systems engineering.

He later graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and was assigned to Air Test Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23). Dominick is now an active-duty U.S. Navy astronaut. While waiting for his chance to fly in space, he was also promoted to Commander of the Navy in 2020.

Michael Barratt

Michael Barratt is a 64-year-old doctor specializing in aerospace medicine. He served as a flight surgeon for NASA before being selected as an astronaut candidate in 2000.

Michael Barratt (the only one among the four who has been to space before) will be the pilot of the Crew-8 mission. Credit: NASA

Barratt has spent a total of 212 days in space on two previous spaceflights, including Expedition 19/20 in 2009 – which saw the transition from three to six permanent ISS crew – and STS-133 in 2011, near the end of the program of NASA space shuttles.

He served as Flight Engineer for Expedition 19/20 and performed two spacewalks during this mission. STS-133, the final mission of the space shuttle Discovery, delivered the Permanent Multipurpose Module and the fourth Express Logistics Transporter to the space station.

Barratt managed the Human Research Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center from January 2012 to April 2013 and provided expertise in human factors and space medical risks for newly developed vehicles of the Crew and Artemis Commercial Programs.

Jeannette Epps

Jeanette Epps was selected as an astronaut candidate in 2009. Before joining NASA, she worked at Ford Motor and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Jeanette Epps, a NASA astronaut, will be one of two spacefarers on the Crew-8 mission. Credit: NASA

The 53-year-old has a bachelor's degree in physics from LeMoyne College and a master's degree in science and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland. As a NASA fellow during graduate school, Epps authored numerous highly referenced journal and conference articles.

Since becoming an astronaut, she has served on the Generic Joint Operations Panel working on space station crew efficiency, as a crew support astronaut on two expeditions, and as lead capsule communicator at the Johnson Space Center.

Alexander Grebenkin

Alexander Sergeyevich Grebenkin, 41, served in the Russian Air Force before joining Roscosmos as a cosmonaut candidate in 2018.

The other Crew-8 mission specialist will be Russian Alexander Grebenkin. Credit: NASA

He graduated from the Irkutsk Higher Military Aviation School in Russia, specializing in engineering, maintenance and repair of aircraft radio navigation systems. He also has a degree in radio, broadcasting and television communications from the Moscow Technical University of Communications and Informatics.

During his time in the Russian Armed Forces, Grebenkin worked as a readiness technician and engineer to prepare aircraft, later serving as head of a military unit's regulations and repair group.

The Crew-8 mission will be the fifth flight of the Dragon Endeavor capsule, which took astronauts to the ISS for the first time in May 2020, on SpaceX's first manned space flight, Demo-2. SpaceX and NASA are currently working to certify reusable Dragon capsules for up to 15 space flights.

SpaceX is one of two commercial companies with multibillion-dollar contracts with NASA to fly astronauts to and from the ISS. The other company is Boeing, which intends to launch the first manned flight on its Starliner spacecraft this semester.

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