Saturday 24 April, SpaceX’s Crew-2 Dragon spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) after launching yesterday from Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) at Cape Canaveral, Florida. France's ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, on his second mission, and the three other crew members—American astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide—safely entered the station and are now ready to start their six-month mission.
Science will be the guiding thread of this mission—named Alpha—during which Thomas Pesquet will be performing experiments on this exceptional orbiting research outpost and stepping stone for future human space exploration. He will be performing some 200 experiments, 40 of them European. Nearly half of these will be monitored by the CADMOS centre for the development of microgravity applications and space operations at CNES. As part of CNES’s contribution to the mission for France, CADMOS has prepared 12 science, technology and education experiments.
Through this programme, CNES is seeking notably to further cutting-edge science on the ISS and continue advancing knowledge in space for Earth. It is also supporting French scientific research and technology advances with an eye on future exploration of the solar system and deep-space missions.
After the docking, CNES Chairman & CEO Philippe Baptiste commented: “A fantastic new adventure is now underway, made possible by the international partners who contributed to the success of this crucial stage of the Alpha mission. Thomas Pesquet will be backed by a top-flight French team of women and men that has prepared this mission and will now be monitoring the experiments operated from the ISS. This is a very proud moment for CNES, which is a federating force driving this ecosystem and helping to put it on the map.”