Washington, 15 December
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have selected three astronauts, including Indo-American Raja Chari, to serve as crew for a SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), which is launched in the fall of 2021.
Raja Chari will serve as chief, while NASA’s Tom Marshburn will be pilot and ESA’s Matthias Maurer will serve as mission specialist, NASA said Monday.
A fourth crew member will be added later, following a review by NASA and its international partners.
This will be the first space trip for Raja Chari, who became a NASA astronaut in 2017.
He is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force and joins the mission with extensive experience as a test pilot. He has accumulated more than 2,500 hours of flight time in his career.
Chari was among the 18 astronauts selected last week to form the Artemis Team and help pave the way for the upcoming lunar missions, including sending the first woman and next man to walk on the lunar surface in 2024.
His father Sreenivas V. Chari immigrated from Hyderabad.
Marshburn is a native of Statesville, North Carolina, who became an astronaut in 2004.
Prior to serving in the astronaut corps, the medical physician served as a flight surgeon at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and later became a medical operations leader for the International Space Station.
The Crew-3 mission will be his third visit to the space station and his second long-term mission.
Marshburn previously served as a crew member of STS-127 in 2009 and Expedition 34/35, which ended in 2013.
Maurer comes from Sankt Wendel, in the German state of Saarland. Like Chari, Maurer will make his first trip to space with the Crew-3 mission.
When Chari, Marshburn and Maurer arrive at the orbiting lab, they will become expeditionary crew members for the duration of their six-month stay.
This will be the third crew-rotating mission of SpaceX’s human space transportation system and its fourth flight with astronauts, including the test flight Demo-2, to the space station via NASA’s Merchant Space Program. IANS