SpaceX and NASA will launch Crew-4 to the International Space Station
SpaceX and NASA are gearing up for their next human spaceflight.
SpaceX has successfully brought back routine human spaceflight from U.S. soil to the International Space Station.
Its next mission, Crew-4 is scheduled to launch on April 23, sending four crew members up to orbit aboard a Crew Dragon capsule atop SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A at 5:26 a.m. EDT (0926 GTM).
The ISS will be crowded, as the all-private Ax-1 crew and Crew-3 are still aboard the orbital space lab.
Crew-4 readies for liftoff
The NASA and SpaceX Crew-4 team carried out a seven-hour flight readiness review for Crew-4 on Arpil 15 and found no issues, meaning they were cleared for launch. Only minor issues were identified that will all be resolved by the Saturday launch date.
Crew-4 will launch aboard a new Dragon capsule called "Freedom". It will be the last Crew Dragon capsule built by SpaceX — for the time being at least — as the private space firm recently announced it will stop manufacturing the capsules to focus on the development of its Mars-bound Starship launch vehicle.
Welcome to @NASAKennedy, Crew Dragon Freedom!— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) April 16, 2022
The @SpaceX capsule that'll carry four astronauts to the @Space_Station arrived at Launch Complex 39A after making the journey from its nearby processing facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station: https://t.co/B9Ykhaj7jG pic.twitter.com/daYdB0ENeH
Crew-4's astronauts, shown in the image above, are (from left to right) Jessica Watkins, Robert Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and the European Space Agency's Samantha Cristoforetti. They will stay aboard the ISS for a lengthy stay.
SpaceX's sixth crewed ISS launch
The launch will be SpaceX's sixth crewed launch to the International Space Station, including Crew-1 through 4, and SpaceX's first-ever human spaceflight, Demo-2, which launched in May 2020. SpaceX also launched the private Ax-1 mission to the space station on April 8.
The four Ax-1 crew members were slated to leave the ISS today, but their departure was delayed to Tuesday, April 26, as a result of "unfavorable weather" conditions. NASA and SpaceX's Crew-3 astronauts are also still aboard the ISS, and the organizations are targeting a late April date for the return of that mission.
Stay tuned for more updates on Crew-4 in the lead-up to the launch, as well as our coverage of NASA and SpaceX's latest crewed launch over the weekend.
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