Washington Astronaut Floats Aboard Her Home for Next 6 Months — 260 Miles Above Earth

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NASA astronaut Kayla Barron, from Richland, floated through the hatch of her spacecraft to board the International Space Station Thursday evening.

It will be her home for the next six months after she and three other astronauts launched into space Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Station in Florida aboard the Crew Dragon Endurance.

"Floating in space and shining like a diamond," said Barron's crewmate Matthias Maurer of Germany, a European Space Agency astronaut, when the crew spotted the space station.

Their flight was a little faster than scheduled, docking with the space station 260 miles above the eastern Caribbean Sea about 30 minutes early at 3:32 PST. It had left earth about 21 and a half hours earlier.

After the spacecraft was secured to the space station and leak checks and pressurization was completed, the crew members floated through the hatch one by one, with Barron first.

They were greeted with hugs from the crew already aboard the international space station.

In addition to Barron and Maurer, NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn boarded the space station.

They bring the crew onboard to seven, including NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

They will spend their stay aboard the orbiting laboratory conducting science and research investigations.

Some of these include a food physiology experiment that will study the impacts of an enhanced spaceflight diet on astronaut health and the collection of a set of core measurements related to human spaceflight risks from astronauts before, during and after long-duration missions.

It is the first time in space for Barron, a graduate of Richland High, and the daughter of Richland residents Scott and Lauri Sax. She is the 601st person to have flown to space.