NASA Launches SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts To ISS Without A Hitch

NASA Delays SpaceX Crew-1 Astronauts Return to Earth – Here's Why

Just days after the return of the Axiom all-civilian crew, SpaceX’s Crew-4 astronauts are up and away in orbit, following a successful launch to the ISS on Wednesday morning.

Launched in a new “Freedom” Dragon spacecraft by a Falcon 9 rocket at 3:52 a.m. ET from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the crew are set to arrive on the space station as the fourth rotation in the agency’s commercial 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 website.

Then, the crew is set to spend several months conducting science experiments in microgravity that, according to NASA administrator Bill Nelson, “will help NASA prepare for longer duration stays on the Moon — and eventually Mars.”

It’s SpaceX’s fifth mission launching NASA astronauts to the ISS — SpaceX first launched NASA astronauts into space in May 2020, then again in November, again in April, and then the most recent Axiom private mission in April 2022. It’s 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 beyond,” said Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s space operations mission directorate in Washington.

Though he retweeted a few NASA and SpaceX bits and pieces, it’s unclear how focused on the launch SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was, considering everything happening on Earth this week.

[“source=in.mashable”]

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