NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Launch Readiness Review Complete

Sunrise at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A with Crew-5 rocket vertical
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance, sits atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket as the sun rises at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 3, 2022. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission is targeted to launch from Kennedy at noon EDT Wednesday, Oct. 5. Photo credit: SpaceX

The Launch Readiness Review for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission is complete. Liftoff is targeted for noon EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 5, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida.

The prelaunch news teleconference (audio only) at Kennedy starts at 7:30 p.m.. EDT  with the following participants:

        • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
        • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, Johnson
        • Emily Nelson, chief flight director, Johnson
        • Kirt Costello, chief scientist, NASA’s International Space Station Program
        • Benji Reed, senior director, Human Spaceflight Programs, SpaceX
        • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station, JAXA
        • Sergei Krikalev, executive director, Human Space Flight Programs, Roscosmos
        • Brian Cizek, launch weather officer, U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron

The news conference can be found at www.nasa.gov/nasalive.

Crew-5 will carry two NASA astronauts – Mission Commander Nicole Aunapu Mann and Pilot Josh Cassada – along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will serve as mission specialists, to the International Space Station.

Check out the press kit online for blogs, features, photo albums, videos, and fact sheets on Commercial Crew missions. Learn more about station activities by following  @space_station  and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook  and ISS Instagram  accounts.

Weather Favorable for Crew-5 launch, News Teleconference Tonight

NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 rocket and spacecraft vertical at Launch Complex 39A
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance, sits atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on Oct. 2, 2022. Launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission is targeted for noon EDT on Oct. 5, 2022. Photo credit: SpaceX

Weather officials with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron predict a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the cumulus cloud rule and flight through precipitation serving as the primary weather concerns. Liftoff is targeted for noon EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 5, from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A.

At approximately 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, there will be a prelaunch news teleconference at Kennedy (no earlier than one hour after completion of the Launch Readiness Review) with the following participants:

        • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
        • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, Johnson
        • Emily Nelson, chief flight director, Johnson
        • Kirt Costello, chief scientist, NASA’s International Space Station Program
        • Benji Reed, senior director, Human Spaceflight Programs, SpaceX
        • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station, JAXA
        • Sergei Krikalev, executive director, Human Space Flight Programs, Roscosmos
        • Brian Cizek, launch weather officer, U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron

The prelaunch news teleconference (audio only) can be found at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

Crew-5 will carry two NASA astronauts – Mission Commander Nicole Mann and Pilot Josh Cassada – along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will serve as mission specialists, to the International Space Station.

Follow Commercial Crew and Kennedy Space Center for the latest mission updates.

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 Adjusts Crew-5 Launch Date Due to Hurricane Ian

NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 Dragon Endurance spacecraft
The Dragon Endurance spacecraft for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission arrives at the hangar at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on Sept. 23, 2022. The capsule arrived at the launch complex after making the short journey from its nearby processing facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX are targeting no earlier than 12:23 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 4, for the launch of the agency’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station with a backup opportunity on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Mission teams will continue to monitor the impacts of Ian on the Space Coast and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and could adjust the launch date again, as necessary. More updates on the planning schedule, including crew arrival from the agency’s Johnson Space Center to Kennedy, will be provided more in the coming days. Based on current schedules, crew arrival is planned no earlier than Friday, Sept. 30. The safety of the crew, ground teams, and hardware are the utmost importance to NASA and SpaceX.

The Dragon Endurance spacecraft is currently mated to the Falcon 9 rocket and safely secured inside SpaceX’s hangar at Launch Complex 39A. Kennedy Space Center is also making preparations across the spaceport to secure other property and infrastructure. After the storm progresses, teams from NASA and SpaceX will evaluate the potential impacts to the center and determine whether to adjust the mission timeline further.

Undocking of the agency’s Crew-4 mission from the space station will move day-for-day along with the Crew-5 launch date to allow a planned five-day direct handover between crews.

The Crew-5 flight will carry NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, who will serve as mission commander and pilot, respectively, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will serve as mission specialists.

Follow the Crew-5 blog for the latest information on the mission and weather impacts. Learn more about Crew-5 by exploring the Commercial Crew Press Kit.

NASA to Cover Crew-5 Flight Readiness Review

Crew-5 mission astronauts at SpaceX Headquarters
The four members of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission pose for a portrait in their Crew Dragon flight suits at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. From left are Mission Specialist Anna Kikina from Roscosmos; Pilot Josh Cassada and Commander Nicole Aunapu Mann, both from NASA; and Mission Specialist Koichi Wakata from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA will host a Flight Readiness Review (FRR) media teleconference on Monday, Sept. 26, in preparation for the fifth crew rotation mission with SpaceX as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA and SpaceX continue to target no earlier than 12:46 p.m. EDT, Monday, Oct. 3, for launch of the agency’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The mission will carry NASA astronauts Nicole Aunapu Mann and Josh Cassada, who will serve as mission commander and pilot, respectively, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will serve as mission specialists.

These crewmates will travel to the space station for a six-month science and technology research mission. Plans also continue to return NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts following a short handover on the space station with Crew-5.

Today’s FRR starts at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT and includes the following participants:

  • Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Emily Nelson, chief flight director, Flight Operations Directorate, NASA Johnson
  • William Gerstenmaier, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
  • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station Program, JAXA
  • Sergei Krikalev, executive director, Human Space Flight Programs, Roscosmos

Listen to audio of the teleconference streaming at: https://www.nasa.gov/live

Based on the duration of the readiness review, NASA may adjust the date of this briefing if not able to complete the telecon prior to 6 p.m. when the agency’s DART mission coverage begins.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Underway as Freedom Journeys to Station

Crew-4 astronauts, from left, Jessica Watson, mission specialist; Bob Hines, pilot; Kjell Lindgren, commander and Samantha Cristoforetti, mission specialist, are positioned inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Freedom. Crew-4 launched to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:52 a.m. EDT on April 27, 2022.
Crew-4 astronauts, from left, Jessica Watkins, mission specialist; Bob Hines, pilot; Kjell Lindgren, commander and Samantha Cristoforetti, mission specialist, are positioned inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Freedom. Crew-4 launched to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:52 a.m. EDT on April 27, 2022. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti are on their way to the International Space Station, following the picture-perfect launch of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Freedom by the crew, launched atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida at 3:52 a.m. EDT.

“This is our fourth crew rotation flight – it’s kind of hard to believe,” said Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “It seems like Demo-2 was just yesterday, and it’s exciting to be here. We had a really clean countdown today – the Falcon 9 rocket did great; the Dragon vehicle did great. It was great to see the crew get in. You could tell they were excited to start their flight off.”

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Crew Dragon atop, soars upward after a 3:52 a.m. EDT liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission on April 27, 2022.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Crew Dragon atop, soars upward after a 3:52 a.m. EDT liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission on April 27, 2022. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Upon their arrival at the space station, the Crew-4 astronauts will be greeted by NASA astronauts of the Expedition 67 crew already on board. During their six-month stay aboard the microgravity laboratory, Lindgren, Hines, Watkins, and Cristoforetti will join the Expedition 67 crew in conducting a number of science and research investigations.

The Crew-4 astronauts will conduct new and exciting scientific research in areas such as materials science, health technologies, and plant science to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth. Experiments will include studies on the aging of immune systems, organic material concrete alternatives, and cardiorespiratory effects during and after long-duration exposure to microgravity. These are just some of the more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations that will take place during their mission.

Launching alongside the crew in the Dragon capsule is an investigation that seeks to restore meaningful vision to people suffering from retinal degenerative diseases like retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration. The Protein-Based Artificial Retina Manufacturing experiment tests the manufacturing of artificial retinas or retinal implants in microgravity, where it is expected their production could be optimized.

Also traveling to space aboard the Crew Dragon are Smart-Tex shirts as part of the German Space Agency (DLR) investigation called Wireless Compose-2. The shirts are fitted with sensors, wiring, and a communications module to wirelessly transmit data to a base station. The shirt is designed to monitor cardiovascular activity like relative blood pressure and can provide details about heart contraction rate and valve opening and closing times – something normally accessible only through sonography or CT scans. These kinds of wearable technologies could be used to monitor health throughout a long-duration space exploration mission and could lead to a more flexible implementation of this technology in health monitoring equipment on Earth.

Crew-4 is NASA’s fourth crew rotation mission with SpaceX for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Lindgren and Cristoforetti have previously traveled to the International Space Station, while it will be the first trip for Hines and Watkins. Crew-4 astronauts are slated to arrive at the space station today, April 27, with docking targeted for 8:15 p.m. EDT. Following docking and hatch opening, a welcoming ceremony is planned for 2:40 a.m. EDT.

Coverage of Crew-4’s arrival to the station will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, beginning with docking at 8:15 p.m. EDT.

For mission updates, visit the station blog at https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @commercial_crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew and ISS Facebook pages and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA Leadership Remarks on Upcoming Crew-4 Launch

From left, moderator Megan Cruz, NASA Communications; Bill Nelson, NASA administrator; Bob Cabana, NASA associate administrator; Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington; Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA (European Space Agency); and Heidi Parris, associate program scientist for the International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson attend a Crew-4 press briefing April 26, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 launch. Crew-4 is the fourth crew rotation flight to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule is targeted to launch atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A to the space station on Wednesday, April 27, at 3:52 a.m. EDT.
From left, moderator Megan Cruz, NASA Communications; Bill Nelson, NASA administrator; Bob Cabana, NASA associate administrator; Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington; Heidi Parris, associate program scientist for the International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson; and Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA (European Space Agency) attend a Crew-4 press briefing April 26, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 launch. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Earlier on Tuesday, April 26, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and senior NASA leadership addressed members of the media during a briefing held at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission, now less than a day away.

“Flying safely with crew means that you’ve got to do it one step at a time,” said Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters. “So, tomorrow morning, we’re hoping that you’ll get to see a really, really beautiful step, and we’ll get our crew safely to orbit.”

Crew-4 is the fourth crew rotation flight of a U.S. commercial spacecraft under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The mission will send NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti to the International Space Station for a rotation science expedition, living and working as part of what is expected to be a 7-member crew.

Lindgren and Hines were assigned to the Crew-4 mission in February 2021 and began working and training on SpaceX’s next-generation human spacecraft and for their stay aboard the space station. Cristoforetti was assigned to the mission in March 2021 and Watkins was added as the fourth crew member in November 2021.

The Crew-4 mission continues NASA’s efforts to restore and maintain American leadership in human spaceflight. Regular commercial crew rotation missions enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place aboard the station. Such research benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, starting with the agency’s Artemis missions, which includes landing the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, which the crew has named Freedom, are scheduled to lift off at 3:52 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 27. Just over 17 hours after launch, the crew is expected to arrive at the orbiting laboratory. Docking is planned for approximately 8:15 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 27.

Weather officials with the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron are predicting an 90% chance of favorable weather conditions for launch – this is derived from Falcon 9 Crew Dragon launch weather criteria. The primary weather concerns are cumulus cloud and flight through precipitation rules.

For more than 21 years, humans have continuously lived and worked aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies that enable us to prepare for human exploration to the Moon and Mars. The station’s design requires humans living aboard to maintain it, operate it, and upgrade it; thus, International Space Station operations, including commercial resupply and commercial crew, are essential to the mission.

Live coverage of launch preparations and liftoff will begin at 12 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 27, on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Read more on the Crew-4 mission blog.

Crew-4 Prelaunch Briefings, Weather Update

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Crew-4 mission, Monday, April 25, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission is the fourth crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti are scheduled to launch no earlier than April 27 from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Crew-4 mission, Monday, April 25, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission is the fourth crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 launch is targeted at 3:52 a.m. EDT Wednesday, April 27, to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions at the launch pad for liftoff of the Crew-4 mission based on Falcon 9 Crew Dragon launch weather criteria. The primary weather concerns for the launch area are the cumulus cloud and flight through precipitation rules. Teams also will monitor weather conditions both for the launch area and downrange for the flight of Crew Dragon.

NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch activities for the mission sending astronauts to the microgravity laboratory. Prelaunch activities will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 prelaunch coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Tuesday, April 26

7 a.m. (approximately) – Prelaunch news teleconference at Kennedy (no earlier than one hour after completion of the launch readiness review) with the following participants:

  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson
  • Zeb Scoville, chief flight director, Flight Operations Directorate, NASA Johnson
  • Jessica Jensen, vice president, customer operations and integration, SpaceX
  • Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA
  • Arlena Moses, launch weather officer, U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron

Media may ask questions via phone only. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 6 a.m. on Tuesday, April 26, at: ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.

9 a.m. – NASA Administrator Media Briefing on NASA TV with the following participants:

  • NASA Administrator Bill Nelson
  • NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana
  • Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Heidi Parris, associate program scientist for the International Space Station Program
  • Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA

Media may ask questions in-person and via phone. Limited auditorium space will be available for in-person participation. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 26, at: ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.

NASA will provide a live video feed of Launch Complex 39A beginning Monday morning. Pending unlikely technical issues, the feed will be uninterrupted through launch: https://youtube.com/kscnewsroom.

SpaceX Completes Falcon 9 Static Fire Test in Preparation for Crew-4 Launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A during a brief static fire test ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission, Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission is the fourth crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti are scheduled to launch on April 23 at 5:26 a.m. EDT, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A during a brief static fire test ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission, Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

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.

Crew-4 Dragon Rolls to the Pad, Completes Dry Dress Rehearsal

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen at sunrise on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Crew-4 mission, Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission is the fourth crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti are scheduled to launch on April 23 at 5:26 a.m. EDT, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen at sunrise on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Crew-4 mission, Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission is the fourth crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with Crew Dragon atop, rolled out to the launch pad on April 19, at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for NASA’s Crew-4 launch. The rocket is now in a vertical position at Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39A and underwent a successful dry dress rehearsal in the early morning hours of April 20 with the launch team and crewmembers.

The mission will carry NASA astronauts Kjell LindgrenRobert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, to the International Space Station for their planned science mission. This is the first spaceflight for Hines and Watkins and the second flight for Lindgren and Cristoforetti.

Upon their arrival, the Crew-4 astronauts will have a short overlap with NASA astronauts Raja ChariTom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, who flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission in November 2021. Also on board are Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg ArtemyevDenis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov who flew to the station on a Soyuz spacecraft on March 18, 2022, Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov.

The mission will fly a new Crew Dragon, which crew members have named Freedom. Mission Commander Lindgren tweeted the significance of the name: “The name celebrates a fundamental human right, and the industry and innovation that emanate from the unencumbered human spirit.” The spacecraft’s name also recalls Freedom 7, the spacecraft that carried Alan Shepard as the first American launched into space on May 5, 1961 aboard NASA’s Mercury-Redstone 3.

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.