MYSTERY WIRE — NASA is preparing to launch its fourth crew of astronauts to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule on October 30.
The four crew members – three American and one German – have given their blessings to actor William Shatner, who will rocket into space next week — boldly going where no other sci-fi stars have gone before.
SpaceX Crew-3 members Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer are preparing for their trip to the ISS on October 30.
It’ll be the fourth time NASA has sent astronauts to the ISS using SpaceX’s Dragon capsule.
The four are expected to spend six months in orbit, playing host to an assortment of civilian space tourists during their stay.
Speaking ahead of their launch, the crew gave their best Vulcan salutes to space-bound actor William Shatner.
Earlier this week, Jeff Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin, announced Captain Kirk himself will be rocketing into space from West Texas on October 12.
“If think they’re all pioneers, they’re taking risks. And as a result, they’re expanding the boundaries for what humans can do,” says NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, who’ll be acting as pilot on the mission.
“One of these days, we can’t just have highly selected folks who train for years to go into space, we do want the situation where people can buy a ticket and go.”
Shatner will become the oldest person to go to space.
Sixty-one-year-old Mashburn, who could become the oldest person to ever spacewalk should he venture outside the ISS during his six-month stay – says age should be no barrier.
“There’s no one that could say that number of your age means you are incapable of doing something,” he says.
“He’s going to get the medical tests, the ones that we know about, the ones that we can test out, the ones where we can put him through his paces. And I’m sure the company doesn’t want anything bad to happen, so they’re going to be very careful about it.”
Shatner’s flight will last just ten minutes and reach no higher than about 66 miles (106 kilometers). The capsule will parachute back to the desert floor, not far from where it took off.
“I’m very, very impressed that at the age of 90 he’s in such a good condition to fly to space. And it’s just, for me, a nice message that clearly tells you can never be too old to live your dream,” says German astronaut Matthias Maurer.
Crew-3 also includes two astronauts that might one day set foot on the Moon.
In late 2020, both commander Raja Chari and mission specialist Kayla Barron were named among 18 astronauts who will train for NASA’s Artemis moon-landing program.
“Trying to imagine just standing there in a space suit, looking back at planet Earth just kind of blows your mind. And I think for most of us, we channel that energy into excitement that it could actually be possible for us to return to the Moon and return to stay,” says Barron.
“For me, I think what I’m excited about Artemis is not just to go and come back, but to go and stay. And I think that’s, for a lot of us, that’s been really the goal from the beginning is to continue moving human presence out, to continue pushing humans and machines further and further off the planet,” adds Chari.
The October launch will be a first for German astronaut Matthias Maurer.
As is tradition for European astronauts, Maurer will be bringing food from his home country for space station residents to enjoy.
The choice? Not apple strudel, but a venison ragu from where he grew up in south-western Germany.
“It’s a local specialty and it has a potato soup with it. And a dessert comes afterwards,” explains Maurer.
“So, it’ll be a splendid dish, but I will also offer to my crewmates in space just to show them like what we eat back home and to give them a little bit of European flavor.”
NASA’s Crew-3 mission is expected to blastoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Saturday, October 30. The four are expected to spend six months in orbit, returning in late April 2022.