Crew-4 astronauts arrive at Kennedy in advance of ISS mission
The next set of astronauts bound for the International Space Station has arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in advance of their launch.
NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren and Jessica Watkins, as well as European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, are scheduled to launch in Crew Dragon Freedom atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 5:26 a.m. EDT (9:26 UTC) April 23, 2022, from Launch Complex 39A. They will travel to the ISS for a roughly five-month stay.
The four arrived at KSC just after noon EDT (16:00 UTC) April 18, landing in a NASA Gulfstream V jet on the runway at the Launch and Landing Facility, formerly called the Shuttle Landing Facility.
“As we were coming in for the landing, we had the opportunity to fly and take a look at the pad [39A],” Lindgren, the Crew-4 spacecraft commander, said in remarks to reporters following landing. “And right next to our pad, the [Space Launch System] rocket is sitting there.”
NASA’s SLS mega Moon rocket is currently at Launch Complex 39B, adjacent to 39A where the Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon launch. It has been there since March 18 undergoing fueling tests in advance of the uncrewed Artemis 1 mission later this summer.
Lindgren also remarked about all of the human spaceflight events that are occurring within a short span of time: NASA’s Mark Vande Hei returned to Earth March 30 in a Soyuz spacecraft, the all-private Axiom Space crew has launched and will be returning to Earth in the coming days and preparations for the return of the Crew-3 astronauts. The second uncrewed flight test of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is even scheduled for less than a month after Crew-4’s launch.
“We’ve been training for many, many months and we’re seeing all those boxes getting checked off,” Lindgren said. “It’s very exciting now to have this box checked off. We’re here at Kennedy Space Center looking forward to our launch here in the very near future.“
The Crew-4 launch is contingent on the return of the Axiom Space Ax-1 mission, which launched four private astronauts to the orbiting outpost on a science mission April 8.
As of right now, Ax-1 is set to undock from the ISS at about 10 p.m. EDT April 19 (2:00 UTC April 20) and splashdown off the coast of Florida no earlier than 3:24 p.m. EDT (19:24 UTC) April 20.
When Crew-4 launches into space, it’ll take about a day to reach the ISS. They’ll replace the outgoing Crew-3 astronauts — NASA’s Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron and ESA’s Matthias Maurer — who have been in orbit since November 2021.
Crew-3 is slated to return to Earth less than a week after the arrival of Crew-4.
Video courtesy of NASA
Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.