NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Space Station Departure Delayed for Weather

The SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts are seated inside the Dragon Freedom crew ship. The commercial crew quartet (from left) are Mission Specialist Jessica Watkins, Pilot Robert Hines, Commander Kjell Lindgren, and Mission Specialist Samantha Cristorforetti. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting no earlier than 10:05 a.m. EDT Thursday, Oct. 13, for the agency’s Crew-4 undocking from the International Space Station to begin the return trip to Earth completing a nearly six-month science mission in orbit. Splashdown is targeted several hours later at 5:43 p.m. Thursday off the coast of Florida.

Mission teams continue to monitor a cold front passing over Florida with the potential to bring high winds and rainy weather near the splashdown zones off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Mission teams will continue to monitor splashdown and recovery conditions with another weather review around six hours prior to undocking.

Crew 4’s Dragon undocking depends on a variety of factors, including spacecraft readiness, recovery team readiness, weather, sea states, and other factors. Dragon Freedom remains healthy while currently docked to the space station. Back-up undocking opportunities also are available Friday, Oct. 14.

NASA will provide live coverage of the upcoming return activities for the Crew-4 mission with NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

Dragon’s hatch closing, undocking, and splashdown coverage will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. NASA also will host an audio only post-splashdown news teleconference. Follow all live events at:

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 return coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Thursday, Oct. 13

8 a.m. – Hatch closure coverage begins for 8:20 a.m. hatch closing
9:45 a.m. – Undocking coverage begins for 10:05 a.m. undocking with a Thursday splashdown
5:43 p.m. – Splashdown off the coast of Florida
7 p.m. – Return to Earth media teleconference call from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston with:

  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Joel Montalbano, manger, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston
  • SpaceX Representative

Flight Crew Settling in at Kennedy, Making Final Preparations for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Mission

Crew-5 arrives at Kennedy Space Center
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 crew members wave after arriving at Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, Oct. 1. The launch is targeted for noon EDT Wednesday, Oct. 5, from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

By Jim Cawley
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 flight crew has reported to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to start final preparations for liftoff of the mission to the International Space Station.

NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, commander; Josh Cassada, pilot; and mission specialists Koichi Wakata, of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina arrived at the Launch and Landing Facility at approximately 12:15 p.m. EDT Saturday, Oct. 1, after departing Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The Crew-5 crew will call the Astronaut Crew Quarters at Kennedy home before the Crew-5 launch – targeted for noon EDT Wednesday, Oct. 5, from the spaceport’s Launch Complex 39A.

NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana
NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana welcomes the Crew-5 flight crew to Kennedy Space Center. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

“It is always great to come back to Florida, but it’s really great to welcome Crew-5,” said NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana, who, along with Kennedy Director Janet Petro, was there to greet the crew members as they exited the aircraft. A veteran of four spaceflights, Cabana served as Kennedy’s director for more than a decade.

The crew members are slated to lift off from Kennedy aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft Endurance – carried by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket – for a science expedition mission to the space station. The spacecraft will dock to the forward port on the station’s Harmony module about 22 hours later.

“It’s time to get to work. Nobody does this alone, and we have thousands of people around the globe we need to thank for getting us to this spot,” Cassada said during the crew arrival media event. “This is a remarkable opportunity for all of us. We have trained and prepared for years for this.”

The mission marks the fifth spaceflight for Wakata; it is the first spaceflight for Mann, Cassada, and Kikina. Crew-5 marks another important first, as Mann will become the first Native American woman in space.

Crew-5 commander Nicole Mann
Crew-5 commander Nicole Mann will be the first Native American woman in space. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

“I am very proud to represent Native Americans and my heritage. I think it’s important to celebrate our diversity and also realize how important it is when we collaborate and unite, the incredible accomplishments that we can have,” Mann said.

“We hope that this will inspire young children throughout the world who come from varying backgrounds; in fact, I hope it inspires adults as well – to follow your dreams, to realize the limitations we had in the past are starting to be broken down and we’re able to achieve things when we work together that perhaps were not possible long ago,” Mann added.

Crew-5 crewmates will participate in a handover ceremony with astronauts from NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission. Following the handover period, Mission Commander Kjell Lindgren, Pilot Robert Hines, and mission specialists Jessica Watkins and Samantha Cristoforetti will depart the space station for a splashdown off the coast of Florida.

More details about the Crew-5 mission can be found by following the Crew-5 blog, the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on Twitter, and commercial crew on Facebook.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Flight Readiness Review Begins

NASA's SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida late last year. From left, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, mission specialist; NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, commander; NASA astronaut Bob Hines, pilot; and NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, mission specialist. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX managers have gathered at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to start the Crew-4 mission’s Flight Readiness Review (FRR). Over the next several hours, the FRR will focus on the preparedness of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, the International Space Station, and its international partners to support the flight, and the certification of flight readiness.

After the conclusion of the FRR, NASA will hold a media teleconference to discuss the outcome. While the teleconference will not be televised, media may call in to ask questions via phone. Contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 4 p.m. EDT for connection details.

Participants in the teleconference include:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Zeb Scoville, chief flight director, Flight Operations Directorate, Johnson
  • Frank De Winne, program manager, International Space Station, ESA

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Crew-4 mission as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. They will arrive at the International Space Station approximately 24 hours after launch. Crew-4 will arrive at station for 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.

NASA Celebrating Space Pioneers for Women’s History Month

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins
NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins is one of several trailblazing women being honored by the agency during Women’s History Month. Photo credit: NASA
NASA astronaut Kayla Barron
NASA astronaut Kayla Barron flew to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission. Photo credit: NASA

March is Women’s History Month, and NASA is celebrating all of the trailblazing women making history each and every day. Among those pioneers are 16 active astronauts, including NASA’s Jessica Watkins and Kayla Barron, and ESA’s (European Space Agency)  Samantha Cristoforetti.

Watkins and Cristoforetti will fly to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew 4 mission slated to launch no earlier than April 19, 2022. This will be Watkins’ first trip to space, while Cristoforetti has 200 days of spaceflight under her belt. Barron flew to the space station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission and is scheduled to return to Earth in late April.

These remarkable women will join the ranks of other female astronauts whose participation in scientific research on the space station have helped benefit those on Earth.

Learn more about Watkins, Cristoforetti, and many other women who have conducted scientific work on the space station.