Dragon Arrival at LC-39A

Crew-4 Dragon in Hangar
The SpaceX Crew-4 Dragon arrives at Launch Pad 39A hangar. Photo credit: SpaceX

SpaceX’s brand-new Dragon spacecraft – named “Freedom” by the Crew-4 astronauts – arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A today, April 16, after making the journey from SpaceX’s processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. After Dragon is mated to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the launch vehicle will roll out to the pad and be raised to the vertical launch position.

Liftoff is scheduled for 5:26 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 23. NASA’s Crew-4 mission is the fourth crew rotation flight on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket. NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, and Bob Hines will serve as mission commander and pilot, respectively, and NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, will join as mission specialists.

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.

Crew-4 FRR Concludes; NASA, SpaceX ‘Go’ for April 23 Launch

Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program at Kennedy Space Center, participates in a Flight Readiness Review for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission at the Florida spaceport on April 15, 2022. International partners also participated. NASA and SpaceX mission managers held the FRR to confirm the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft are ready for launch. Crew-4 is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A on April 23, 2022, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT.
Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program at Kennedy Space Center, participates in a Flight Readiness Review for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission at the Florida spaceport on April 15, 2022. International partners also participated. NASA and SpaceX mission managers held the FRR to confirm the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft are ready for launch. Crew-4 is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A on April 23, 2022, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The Flight Readiness Review for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station has concluded, and teams are proceeding toward a 5:26 a.m. EDT liftoff on Saturday, April 23, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida. NASA will hold a media conference at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT to discuss the outcome of the review. Listen live on the agency’s website.

Participants in the teleconference are:

Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, participates in a Flight Readiness Review for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 15, 2022. International partners also participated. NASA and SpaceX mission managers held the review to confirm the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft are ready for launch. Crew-4 is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A on April 23, 2022, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT.
Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, participates in a Flight Readiness Review for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 15, 2022. Photo credit: NASA/Isaac Watson
  • 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
  • Jared Metter, director, Flight Reliability, SpaceX
  • 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, named Freedom, for the fourth crew rotation flight under 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 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.

SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts Enter Quarantine for Mission to Space Station

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. 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 SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. 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

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, entered their official quarantine period beginning Thursday, April 7, in preparation for their flight to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission.

The process of flight crew health stabilization is a routine part of final preparations for all missions to the space station. Spending the final two weeks before liftoff in quarantine will help ensure Crew-4 members are healthy and to protect the astronauts already on the space station.

Crew members can choose to quarantine at home if they are able to maintain quarantine conditions prior to travel to Kennedy. If quarantining at home is not possible – for example, if a household member can’t maintain quarantine because of job or school commitments – crew members have the option of living in the Astronaut Quarantine Facility at Johnson Space Center until they leave for Kennedy Space Center.

Additional safeguards have been added since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Anyone who will come on site or interact with the crew during the quarantine period will be screened for temperature and symptoms. Lindgren, Hines, Watkins, and Cristoforetti will be tested twice for the virus as a precaution, as well as anyone who comes in direct, close contact with the crew.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission is the fourth crew rotation flight to the ISS as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Crew-4 is targeted to launch no earlier than Thursday, April 21, on a new SpaceX Crew Dragon, named Freedom, atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Mission operations teams will be closely monitoring the weather and operational timelines related to the Axiom Mission 1, NASA’s first Private Astronaut Mission to the space station. Additional adjustments to the Crew-4 launch date may be required based on weather and Crew-4 vehicle readiness.

Crew-4 will arrive at the space 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. Also on station are Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov who flew to the station on a Soyuz spacecraft on March 18, 2022.

More details about the mission can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Axiom Mission 1 Launch Readiness Review, Prelaunch News Conference set for April 7

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A during a brief static fire test ahead of Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A during a brief static fire test ahead of Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Ax-1 mission is the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Mission managers with NASA, Axiom, and SpaceX will participate in a Launch Readiness Review for Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) on Thursday, April 7. The first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station, Ax-1 is scheduled to launch no earlier than 11:17 a.m. EDT on Friday, April 8.

The results of the review will be discussed during a prelaunch news conference targeted for 3 p.m. EDT on April 7, or one hour after the review ends. NASA will provide a livestream of the news conference at: https://www.nasa.gov/live.

Participants include:

  • Dana Weigel, International Space Station Deputy Program Manager, NASA
  • Angela Hart, Commercial LEO Program Manager, NASA
  • Michael Suffredini, President and CEO, Axiom Space
  • Derek Hassmann, Operations Director, Axiom Space
  • Benjamin Reed, Senior Director, Human Spaceflight Programs, SpaceX
  • Launch Weather Officer, 45th Weather Squadron, U.S. Space Force

Ax-1 crew members Commander Michael López-Alegría of Spain and the United States, Pilot Larry Connor of the United States, and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe of Israel and Mark Pathy of Canada will travel to the space station on the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft after launching on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

During the 10-day mission, the crew will spend eight days aboard the International Space Station conducting scientific research, outreach, and commercial activities.

Weather officials with the 45th Weather Squadron are predicting an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions for launch, with the primary concern being the thick cloud layer rule. Teams also are monitoring the down range weather for the flight path of the Crew Dragon.

Follow the link for more information about the mission’s briefings, events, and broadcast schedule.

For more information about NASA’s low-Earth orbit commercialization activities, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/leo-economy/.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Trains for Upcoming Mission

SpaceX Crew-4 Preflight and Training
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA. 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: SpaceX

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 team – consisting of NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti – have been busy getting ready for their upcoming mission to the International Space Station. The mission is scheduled to launch Friday, April 15, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX Crew-4 Preflight and Training
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts – NASA astronaut and Crew-4 pilot Bob Hines (left), and NASA astronaut and Crew-4 commander Kjell Lindgren (right) – participate in a training session at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA. Photo credit: SpaceX

During recent training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, the crew participated in simulations focused on undocking and departing from the space station. All four astronauts practiced in a high-fidelity simulator of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, complete with flight-realistic hardware, displays, and seats. Each astronaut gained experience suiting up and configuring the spacecraft for departure. Commander Lindgren and pilot Hines took their places in the center seats, with access to flight displays they’ll use to monitor the spacecraft’s status and, if needed, take manual control of the spacecraft.

Astronaut crews regularly train for all phases of flight, using simulations to practice normal operations and respond to any unexpected issues. These simulations typically include multiple “runs” for a given day, with crew and flight controllers practicing a specific phase of the mission. Using simulated data to train personnel, simulations introduce system failures and other challenges to give teams the opportunity to prepare for and understand potential anomalies that could arise during a spaceflight, all while arming the crew with the skills needed for effectively overcoming these challenges.

SpaceX Crew-4 Preflight and Training
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts train at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. From left to right: ESA astronaut and Crew-4 mission specialist Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 commander Kjell Lindgren; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 pilot Robert “Bob” Hines; and NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 mission specialist Jessica Watkins. Photo credit: SpaceX

While at Kennedy Space Center for emergency preparedness training, the crew visited the launch tower at Launch Complex 39A and trained on the emergency egress system, which employs slide wire baskets that enable crew and personnel to safely and quickly evacuate from the launch tower in the event of an emergency.

To become more familiar with recovery operations, the astronauts found their sea legs aboard SpaceX’s Dragon recovery vessels that will be used by joint SpaceX and NASA teams to pick up the crew following splashdown at the end of their mission. Two identical vessels cover potential landing zones off of the coast of Florida. The astronauts also toured one of SpaceX’s hangars where Falcon 9 rockets are refurbished and prepared for flight.

The crew is scheduled for a science expedition aboard the International Space Station, living and working as part of orbiting laboratory’s Expeditions 67 and 68. Crew-4 will be the fourth crew rotation mission with SpaceX, and fifth crewed flight overall including the Demo-2 flight test, for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercal_crew and commercial crew on Facebook. For more Crew-4 images visit the Crew-4 Flickr album.

NASA’s IXPE Journeys to Explore the Universe

NASA's IXPE launch from Kennedy Space Center
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches with NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) spacecraft onboard from Launch Complex 39A, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, at 1 a.m. EST, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA’s Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission launched at 1 a.m. EST Thursday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

A joint effort with the Italian Space Agency, the IXPE observatory is NASA’s first mission dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays from the most extreme and mysterious objects in the universe – supernova remnants, supermassive black holes, and dozens of other high-energy objects.

Click here to read the full feature.

Weather Outlook Great, IXPE Locked in for 1 a.m. EST Launch

The weather outlook for NASA’s Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) launch from Kennedy Space Center remains outstanding. Weather officials with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron predict a greater than 90% chance of favorable conditions for liftoff of NASA’s first dedicated mission to measuring X-ray polarization.

Propellant load is underway, which eliminates IXPE’s 90-minute launch window.

“We have committed to this and we are committed to a T-zero at 1 a.m.,” said Mic Woltman of NASA Communications.

NASA Begins Live Broadcast of IXPE Launch

NASA has ramped up its coverage of today’s Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) launch, as the live broadcast has now begun. Tune in to NASA Television, the NASA app, or the agency’s website, starting now for launch day commentary, interviews, and everything you need to know about the launch of today’s unique mission.

You can also stay right here for blog updates throughout the launch day milestones.

Live Broadcast of NASA’s IXPE Launch Starts Soon

NASA's IXPE mission logoTune in to NASA Television, the NASA app, or the agency’s website, starting in about 10 minutes (12:30 a.m. EST), for live broadcast coverage of NASA’s Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission.

Liftoff, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A, is targeted for 1 a.m. EST. The Launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy.

IXPE will study changes in the polarization of X-ray light through some of the universe’s most extreme sources, including black holes, dead stars known as pulsars, and more. The mission is NASA’s first dedicated to measuring X-ray polarization.

Click here to learn more about the IXPE mission.