On April 19, SpaceX delivered their Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon capsule to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at launch complex 39A in Florida. The rocket is preparing for the Crew-4 mission, which will send three NASA astronauts and one European astronaut to the ISS on April 23.
The launch, SpaceX’s 4th contractual manned mission, is scheduled for 2:56 p.m. (IST).
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SpaceX’s first human launch took place in May 2020 as part of the Demo-2 mission, when it initiated two NASA astronauts to the ISS for a flight test. Recently, the company has transferred four astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the NASA-Axiom Space Axiom-1 mission.
Falcon 9 and Dragon roll out of the hangar at Launch Complex 39A pic.twitter.com/1Px79itrQJ
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) Apr 19, 2022
It was the first fully commercial launch of a space station. The Crew-4 mission will assign NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines and Jessica Watkins to the International Space Station, as well as Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency (ESA). The four astronauts will replace NASA’s Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, as well as ESA’s Matthias Maurer, who appeared in the orbital lab last November.
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The Ax-1 astronauts will not be there to welcome Crew-4 when it reaches the station; Ax-1’s Dragon capsule will depart tonight and land off the coast of Florida on Wednesday (April 20).
Cover image: NASA/SPACEX