NASA SpaceX Crew-3 Mission: Indian-American among three selected astronauts

NASA SpaceX Crew-3 Mission: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have selected three astronauts to serve as crew members for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), which is likely to be launched in 2021.

NASA said the three astronauts are Raja Chari, an Indian-American US Air Force colonel, and Tom Marshburn, who will serve as commander and pilot, respectively, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will serve as mission specialist. A fourth crew member will join them at a later date after a review by NASA and its international partners.

Meet NASA SpaceX Crew-3 Mission astronaut Raja Chari

Chari became a NASA astronaut in 2017 and this will be his first spaceflight. He was born in Milwaukee, but considers Cedar Falls, Iowa, his hometown. A colonel in the United States Air Force, he joins the mission with extensive experience as a test pilot. He has accumulated more than 2,500 flight hours during his career. Chari was selected to join the Artemis team earlier this month and he is now eligible for assignment to a future lunar mission.

Meet NASA SpaceX Crew-3 Mission astronaut Marshburn

Marshburn, who hails from Statesville, North Carolina, became an astronaut in 2004. Before serving in the Astronaut Corps, the medical doctor was an aviation surgeon at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. He later became lead of medical operations of the International Space Station.

“The Crew-3 mission will be his third visit to the space station and his second long-duration mission. Marshburn previously served as a crew member of STS-127 in 2009 and Expedition 34/35, which concluded in 2013,” the NASA said.

Meet NASA SpaceX Crew-3 Mission astronaut Maurer

Maurer is from Sankt Wendel in Saarland. Like Chari, Maurer will embark on his first space trip with the Crew-3 mission. In 2016, Maurer spent 16 days on an undersea mission as part of NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO, space analog.

About the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 Mission

When Chari, Marshburn, and Maurer arrive at the ISS, they will become members of the Expedition Crew for the duration of their six-month stay.

“The crew will have a slight overlap with the Crew-2 astronauts, who are expected to launch in the spring of 2021. This will not be the first commercial crew mission to overlap. The Crew-1 astronauts, who are currently on station, and the Crew-2 astronauts, also are expected to coincide in their sojourns for a short time. Increasing the total number of astronauts aboard the station is allowing the agency to boost the number of science investigations conducted in the unique microgravity environment.”

This will be the third crew rotation mission of SpaceX’s human space transportation system and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, to the space station through the NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The goal of the program, in cooperation with the US aerospace industry, is to ensure safe, reliable and affordable access for the crew to the space station and near Earth orbit.

Furthermore, the station is an essential test bed for NASA to understand and overcome the challenges of long-term space travel.