Simply days after the return of the Axiom all-civilian crew, SpaceX’s Crew-4 astronauts are up and away in orbit, following a profitable launch to the ISS on Wednesday morning.
Launched in a brand new “Freedom” Dragon spacecraft by a Falcon 9 rocket at 3:52 a.m. ET from Launch Advanced 39A at NASA’s Kennedy House Heart in Florida, the crew are set to reach on the house station because the fourth rotation within the company’s industrial crew program.
The NASA astronauts include mission commander Kjell Lindgren, pilot Bob Hines, and mission specialist Jessica Watkins, as well as ESA mission specialist Samantha Cristoforetti.
During their 16 hour flight to the ISS, the Dragon and the Crew-4 astronauts will orbit the Earth 10 times.
The Dragon spacecraft will dock to the ISS around 8:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and the crew will have a welcome ceremony around 2:40 a.m. ET Thursday — you can watch it live through NASA’s YouTube channel, the NASA app, and web site.
Then, the crew is ready to spend a number of months conducting science experiments in microgravity that, in keeping with NASA administrator Invoice Nelson, “will assist NASA put together for longer period stays on the Moon — and finally Mars.”
It is SpaceX’s fifth mission launching NASA astronauts to the ISS — SpaceX first launched NASA astronauts into house in Might 2020, then once more in November, once more in April, after which the newest Axiom personal mission in April 2022. It is also the fourth launch for the Falcon 9 booster, which landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship shortly after the launch.
SpaceX will run a series of automatic spacecraft manoeuvres during the Dragon’s trip to the ISS, all managed from its mission control center in Hawthorne, California.
“Crew-4’s launch, less than two days after the return of the first all-private mission to station, exemplifies the spirit and success of the Commercial Crew Program to help maximize use of low-Earth orbit for years to come, testing the technologies we need for the Artemis program and past,” stated Kathryn Lueders, affiliate administrator for NASA’s house operations mission directorate in Washington.
Although he retweeted a number of NASA and SpaceX bits and items, it is unclear how centered on the launch SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was, contemplating every part occurring on Earth this week.