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Raja Chari Trains for SpaceX Crew-3 Mission

NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari
In this image, NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari trains aboard the ing session at SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft in Hawthorns, California.

In this image, NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari trains aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft in Hawthorne, California.

Chari was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class and reported for duty in August 2017. The Iowa native graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1999 with bachelor’s degrees in astronautical engineering and engineering science. He earned a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He also logged more than 2,500 hours of flight time in the F-35, F-15, F-16, and F-18.

The Crew-3 mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and is the third time that SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket will carry astronauts to the International Space Station for a long duration mission. The earliest targeted launch date is Sunday, Oct. 31, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The launch will carry three NASA astronauts – mission commander Chari, pilot Tom Marshburn, and mission specialist Kayla Barron to the space station – as well as European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will serve as a mission specialist. This is the first spaceflight for Chari, Barron, and Maurer. It is the third for Marshburn. The crew will complete a six-month science mission aboard the microgravity laboratory in low-Earth orbit.

Image Credit: SpaceX