Dragon Spacecraft Mated to Falcon 9

The SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft that will launch NASA’s Crew-4 astronauts are mated prior rolling out of the hangar at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon scheduled to launch NASA’s Crew-4 astronauts have been mated prior to rolling out of the hangar at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. Photo credit: SpaceX

The SpaceX Dragon Freedom spacecraft for NASA’s Crew-4 mission is now mated to the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch it on its flight to the International Space Station.

On Sunday, April 17, the day after teams transported the spacecraft from SpaceX’s processing facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, into the hangar at nearby Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, the space capsule was attached to the rocket in a horizontal position.

The launch vehicle – with Dragon atop – was rolled out to the launch pad and it will be raised to a vertical position today, April 19, in preparation for launch. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 is scheduled for 5:26 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 23.

The Crew-4 mission will carry NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti to the International Space Station for their planned science mission as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The Falcon 9 will accelerate Dragon to an orbital velocity of 17,500 mph prior to spacecraft separation and rendezvous and docking with the space station. This will be the fourth mission for this Falcon 9, which previously launched SpaceX’s 22nd commercial resupply services mission and Crew-3 for NASA, as well as the Turkish communications satellite, Turksat-5B. Flying crew on a fourth-flight booster will be a first for the Commercial Crew Program and a huge accomplishment for the program and industry.

Crew-4’s arrival to the orbiting laboratory is planned for around 6 a.m. EDT Sunday, April 24, followed by a short overlap with NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, who flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission in November 2021.

Tune in to NASA TV or the agency’s website for live coverage of mission activities, beginning Friday at 9:30 p.m. with the prelaunch news conference. Launch day coverage, which also can be found here, starts Saturday at 1:45 a.m. EDT.

Crew-4 Astronauts to Hold Virtual Media Event from Crew Quarters

From left, NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, and Kjell Lindgren, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti smile during NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 virtual media engagement event at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 19, 2022. The mission will launch aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon – named Freedom by the Crew-4 astronauts – on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. Launch is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT on April 23, 2022, from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. Crew-4 is the fourth crew rotation flight to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
From left, NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, and Kjell Lindgren, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti smile during NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 virtual media engagement event at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 19, 2022. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, will hold a virtual media event tomorrow, April 19, at 6:30 a.m., from inside the Astronaut Crew Quarters at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Watch live on NASA Television or the agency’s website.

Media may call in to ask the crew questions ahead of their upcoming launch to the International Space Station. Contact the Kennedy newsroom for details on how to participate.

Housed inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building, the crew quarters are where the astronauts remain while awaiting launch once they arrive at the Florida spaceport. The facility dates back to the Apollo Program and was also used for missions under the Space Shuttle Program. Inside the crew quarters are 23 bedrooms – each with its own bathroom – and the iconic suit room, where astronauts are helped into their spacesuits before exiting the O&C and making the short journey to the launch pad.

Crew-4 astronauts Lindgren, Hines, and Watkins, and Cristoforetti are scheduled to lift off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A on Saturday, April 23. Launch is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT, and just over 24 hours later, they will arrive at the orbiting laboratory for a short overlap with the astronauts who flew to the station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission in November 2021.

Return of Crew-3 astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer is planned for late April, with a splashdown of Crew Dragon Endurance at one of seven landing zones off the coast of Florida. Crew-4 astronauts will conduct various experiments as part of their science mission, living and working as part of what is expected to be a 7-member crew.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew on Twitter, and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following  @space_station  and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook  and ISS Instagram  accounts.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts Arrive at Florida Spaceport

Crew members for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station arrive at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 18, 2022. From left, are NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines, and Samantha Cristoforetti, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut. The crew will enter quarantine at the center’s astronaut crew quarters as they await launch aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket. Launch is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT on April 23, 2022, from Launch Complex 39A. Crew-4 is the fourth crew rotation flight to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Crew members for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station arrive at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 18, 2022. From left, are NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines, and Samantha Cristoforetti, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut. The crew will enter quarantine at the center’s astronaut crew quarters as they await launch aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket. Launch is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT on April 23, 2022, from Launch Complex 39A. Crew-4 is the fourth crew rotation flight to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The astronauts who will launch this week to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission arrived today, April 18, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to undergo final preparations before launch.

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, landed at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy after departing earlier today from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The crew was greeted by leaders from NASA and ESA, and a media event began shortly after their arrival. Participants included:

  • KSC Center Director Janet Petro
  • Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator, space operations
  • Barbara Nucera, ESA Houston team leader
  • NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren
  • NASA astronaut Bob Hines
  • NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins
  • ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti

Crew-4 astronauts are scheduled to lift off at 5:26 a.m. EDT on Saturday, April 23, aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. They are slated to arrive at the space station the following day, where they will begin their science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory. Docking is targeted for around 6:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday, April 24.

This is the fourth crew rotation flight for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. More details about the mission and the Commercial Crew Program can be found in the online press kit, or by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew, and commercial crew on Facebook.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts En Route to Kennedy Space Center

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 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’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 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. Photo credit: NASA

The astronauts flying on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station are now on their way to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin final preparations for launch.

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, boarded a Gulfstream jet aircraft and departed from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for the flight to Florida. The crew is expected to arrive at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy around 12:30 p.m. EDT.

Crew-4 astronauts will be greeted upon their arrival by Kennedy Space Center Director Janet Petro along with NASA Associate Administrator, Space Operations Kathy Lueders, and ESA Houston Office Team Leader Barbara Nucera. Coverage will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. EDT, and will include welcome remarks, crew comments, and a brief question and answer session with attending news media. The event will be broadcast live on NASA TV and the agency’s website, weather permitting.