NASA SpaceX Crew-8’s Arrival: A Swift Transition to Groundbreaking Work Aboard ISS

SpaceX Crew-8 Members Join Expedition 70

The four SpaceX Crew-8 members (front row) join the Expedition 70 crew (back row) for welcome remarks shortly after docking and entering the space station. Credit: NASA TV

11 crew members now reside aboard the International Space Station (ISS) following the arrival of the SpaceX Crew-8 mission early Tuesday morning. The four new Crew-8 members will spend the next few days getting used to life on orbit as four Expedition 70 crewmates pack up for their return to Earth.

The SpaceX Dragon “Endeavour“ spacecraft docked to the forward port of orbital outpost’s Harmony module at 2:28 a.m. EST on Tuesday. About an hour-and-a-half later, Crew-8 Commander Matthew Dominick, Pilot Mike Barratt, and Mission Specialists Jeanette Epps and Alexander Grebenkin opened Dragon’s hatch and entered Harmony officially becoming station flight engineers. Soon after, the new quartet, with the Expedition 70 septet, called down to Earth for welcome remarks.

ISS Configuration March 5, 2024

March 5, 2024: International Space Station Configuration. Six spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragon crew spacecraft Endurance and Endeavour, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter, the Soyuz MS-24 crew ship, and the Progress 86 and 87 resupply ships. Credit: NASA

Afterward, the entire crew quickly got to work first conducting a safety briefing, then unpacking new science and supplies, conducting health checks, and more. The crewmates transferred Dragon freezers containing research samples and installed them into science racks throughout the station. Tuesday’s health studies included testing the inner-ear balance system, conducting eye scans with an ultrasound device, and evaluating a specialized suit’s ability to help a crew member readjust to Earth’s gravity.

The foursome will live aboard the space station for a six-month space research mission. They will take advantage of the microgravity environment to explore the mechanisms behind neurodegenerative disorders, how spaceflight affects plant growth to sustain crews, countering space-caused fluid shifts that create head and eye pressure in astronauts, and the potential for algae to improve spacecraft life support systems.

Kashmir Valley and Himalayas From Space

The Kashmir Valley (bottom) and the Himalayas are pictured from the International Space Station as it orbited 261 miles above the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Credit: NASA

While Crew-8 gets up to speed with space station systems, four Expedition 70 crewmates are nearing their departure after a six-and-a-half-month mission on orbit. NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli will lead Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency), Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Konstantin Borisov of Roscosmos back to Earth inside the SpaceX Dragon “Endurance” spacecraft. The homebound quartet has been aboard the station since August 27, 2023, and is expected to undock from Harmony’s space-facing port no earlier than Monday, March 11.

The station’s other three crewmates, NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, have been aboard the station since September 15, when they docked to the Rassvet module inside the Soyuz MS-24 crew ship. O’Hara is due to return to Earth in April while Kononenko and Chub will stay in space for a few more months.

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