Russian cosmonaut joins SpaceX crew in historic lift-off

A four-person SpaceX flight to the International Space Station has lifted off from the Cape Canaveral launch site in Florida after being delayed due to Hurricane Ian.

The crew consists of NASA astronauts Nicole Aunapu Mann and Josh Cassada, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina.

Kikina was the first cosmonaut to travel to the ISS under a cross-flight programme agreed this year between NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

The deal, which was reached high tensions over the war in Ukraine, allows mixed US and Russian crews to travel to the space station onboard each other’s spacecraft.

It is the first time in 20 years that a Russian cosmonaut has rocketed from the US.

Two weeks ago, the two Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin flew to the ISS together with NASA astronaut Frank Rubio.

They were launched onboard a Soyuz capsule from the Russian spaceport Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

The mission onboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule was originally set for October 3 but had to be postponed due to Hurricane Ian.

SpaceX is a private spaceflight company founded by Elon Musk that contracts with NASA to deliver crew and cargo to the space station.

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