On April 20, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Dragon Freedom capsule and Crew-4 astronauts to the International Space Station surpassed a key milestone ahead of launch. While vertical on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida, the rocket’s nine Merlin first-stage engines roared to life for seven seconds, completing the routine but critical integrated static fire test.
The Crew-4 mission will carry Mission Commander Kjell Lindgren, Pilot Robert Hines, and Mission Specialist Jessica Watkins, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who will also serve as a mission specialist, to the space station for a six-month science mission.
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.