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NASA footage shows SpaceX Crew-4 training for ISS mission

NASA has shared raw footage of SpaceX’s Crew-4 astronauts training for their space station mission that’s set to get underway in just a few days’ time.

The 30-minute reel (below) shows NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, along with Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, undergoing a range of training techniques to prepare them for the ride to and from the International Space Station (ISS), as well as their six-month stay aboard the orbiting laboratory.

The footage shows, for example, the astronauts entering the enormous pool at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The pool is a useful apparatus for training as the floating sensation offers something close to the microgravity conditions that astronauts experience on the space station. The video also shows mock-ups of different space station modules to help the astronauts familiarize themselves with what will soon be their new surroundings in space.

Crew 4 Training Footage - April 18, 2022

A lot of the training will have felt like a refresher course for Lindgren and Cristoforetti as both have already spent time aboard the ISS in recent years. For Hines and Watkins, however, everything will have been new.

The mission marks the fourth crew rotation to fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket, and the fifth crewed SpaceX flight following the Demo-2 test flight to the space station in 2020.

SpaceX's Crew-4 astronauts ahead of their mission to the space station in April 2022.
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 (European Space Agency) astronaut and Crew-4 mission specialist Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy. NASA

The Crew-4 launch is currently targeted for 5:26 a.m. ET (2:26 a.m. PT) on Saturday, April 23, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named “Freedom” by the Crew-4 astronauts, is scheduled to dock at the space station at 6 a.m. (3 a.m. PT) on Sunday, April 24.

April is a busy month for the ISS. On Tuesday, NASA’s first private astronauts will depart the station after an eight-day stay, while SpaceX’s Crew-3 will also return home a few days after the arrival of Crew-4.

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