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Launch for Crew-4 mission to ISS confirmed for next weekend

A new batch of astronauts are getting ready to head to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Crew-4 mission. The mission has now passed its readiness review and is on track for launch next Saturday, April 23.

The launch will see four astronauts taken to the space station on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The crew consists of NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren — whom we interviewed about NASA’s plans for crewed missions to the moon last year — plus NASA colleagues Robert Hines and Jessica Watkins, along with European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

A close-up view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket vertical with the Crew Dragon for the Crew-3 mission at Launch Pad 39A.
A close-up view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket vertical with the Crew Dragon for the Crew-3 mission at Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 27, 2021. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 is targeting launch 5:26 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 23. NASA

“Liftoff is scheduled for 5:26 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 23. NASA’s Crew-4 mission is the fourth crew rotation flight on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket. NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, and Bob Hines will serve as mission commander and pilot, respectively, and NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, will join as mission specialists,” NASA confirmed in an update.

The crew has been preparing for this mission with training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California and at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to get antiquated with the SpaceX Dragon craft and the functions they’ll perform on board.

SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. From left to right: NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 mission specialist Jessica Watkins; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 pilot Robert “Bob” Hines; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 commander Kjell Lindgren; and ESA astronaut and Crew-4 mission specialist Samantha Cristoforetti. SpaceX

While the crew has been getting ready, the spacecraft has been prepared as well. It recently arrived at Kennedy Space Center, from where the launch will take place. “SpaceX’s brand-new Dragon spacecraft – named “Freedom” by the Crew-4 astronauts – arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A today, April 16, after making the journey from SpaceX’s processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida,” NASA wrote. “After Dragon is mated to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the launch vehicle will roll out to the pad and be raised to the vertical launch position.”

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