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The Crew-4 mission is the first NASA mission to have an equal number of women and men. 

The Crew Dragon spacecraft of the private SpaceX company has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS), some 16 hours after its launch from Earth. Called Freedom, the spacecraft was launched into space by SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The mission includes American astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines and Jessica Watkins, and Italian (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. Jessica Watkins is the first woman of colour to undertake such a mission.

According to astronauts are scheduled to spend six months on the ISS, where they will carry out 200 different experiments to help prepare NASA for a longer stay on the Moon and eventually Mars. The previous Crew-3 mission (three US and one German astronaut) is expected to return to Earth a week after the arrival of the new crew.

SpaceX has also recently launched a mission composed entirely of private astronauts sent to into space with the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The tourists paid a hefty sum of around $55 million each to spend eight days on the ISS, where they also took part in various scientific experiments. Among other things, they took with them a device called brain.space, which can detect which areas of the cerebral cortex are active, for example whether the user is concentrating or excited.

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