SpaceX Crew-6 is a historic mission that marks several milestones for NASA, SpaceX, and international space cooperation. It is the sixth crewed operational flight of a Crew Dragon spacecraft, and the ninth overall crewed orbital flight. It is also the first mission to transport four crew members from four different countries: USA, UAE, Russia, and Japan.

The mission launched on March 2, 2023 at 5:34 am UTC from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, following a one-day delay due to weather conditions. The crew consists of two NASA astronauts, Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg; one UAE astronaut, Nora AlMatrooshi; and one Russian cosmonaut, Anton Shkaplerov. Bowen is the mission commander, Hoburg is the pilot, AlMatrooshi is a flight engineer and science communicator, and Shkaplerov is also a flight engineer.

The Crew-6 mission allows NASA to maximize the use of the International Space Station, where astronauts have lived and worked continuously for more than 22 years, testing technologies, performing science, and developing the skills needed to operate future commercial destinations in low-Earth orbit and explore farther from Earth. The crew will join seven other crew members already aboard the ISS as part of Expedition 66/67. They will conduct hundreds of experiments in fields such as biology, physics, medicine, and Earth observation.

The mission also demonstrates the benefits of international collaboration in space exploration. It is the first time an astronaut from the UAE has flown to space with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. AlMatrooshi is also the first Arab woman to go to space. She will conduct experiments related to water recycling, plant growth, and microgravity effects on human health. She will also share her experience with students and educators in her country through live events.

Furthermore, it is the second time that a Russian cosmonaut has flown on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule as part of a swap partnership between NASA and Roscosmos. Shkaplerov will perform maintenance tasks on both the US and Russian segments of the ISS. He will also participate in two spacewalks with Bowen to install new solar arrays on the station.

The Crew-6 mission is expected to last about six months. The crew will return to Earth in September 2023 aboard their Crew Dragon capsule named Endeavour.