Axiom Mission 1 Crew Safely Splashes Down Near Florida

Axiom Space's Ax-1 mission splashes down.
SpaceX’s Dragon Endeavour capsule splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean on April 25, 2022, marking the end of Axiom Space’s Axiom Mission 1 – the first all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: Axiom Space

Axiom Space astronauts Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy have safely returned to Earth, marking the end of the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) – the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, carrying the crew of four and more than 200 pounds of science and supplies, including NASA experiments and hardware, undocked from the space station at 9:10 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 24. About 16 hours later, the vehicle splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.

“The success of this first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station is an important step in opening opportunities for space travelers and achieving NASA’s goal of enabling commercial business off the planet in low-Earth orbit,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This progress has been made possible by NASA’s work with private industry – especially the Commercial Crew Program. I’m incredibly proud of the NASA, SpaceX, and Axiom teams for safely completing this landmark mission. Welcome home, Ax-1!”

Chile peppers on the space station
Fresh chile peppers are pictured growing inside the International Space Station’s Advanced Plant Habitat shortly before being harvested late last year. Photo credit: NASA

The crew spent 15 days in orbit, conducting a variety of science experiments and technology demonstrations. A few highlights include research on cancer cell growth, a demonstration testing a new air purifier for station use, and a study utilizing swarms of autonomous tiles for future applications of in-space construction.

Following splashdown, teams will retrieve science aboard the Dragon spacecraft and transport it to nearby Kennedy Space Center for further investigation. Kennedy’s proximity to the coast allows researchers to study their experiments mere hours after their return to Earth, while the effects of microgravity are still largely intact.

NASA is partnering with commercial companies to establish a robust low-Earth orbit economy – one where government and private astronauts live and work aboard the space station and future commercial habitats. The agency recently selected Axiom Space to negotiate for a second private astronaut mission to the orbiting laboratory and plans to announce a third flight opportunity later this year.

Learn more information about NASA’s low-Earth orbit economy efforts at:

https://www.nasa.gov/leo-economy

 

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.

Station Crew Awaits Ax-1 Departure and Crew-4 Launch

International Space Station Configuration. Six spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragons Endurance and Endeavour; the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter; and Russia's Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 79 and 80 resupply ships.
International Space Station Configuration. Six spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragons Endurance and Endeavour; the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 79 and 80 resupply ships.

The integrated NASA, Axiom Space, and SpaceX teams have agreed on a plan for the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) crew to undock from the International Space Station at 8:35 p.m. EDT Saturday, April 23, for a splashdown off the coast of Florida about 1:46 p.m. Sunday, April 24. The decision was made based on the best weather for splashdown of the first private astronaut mission to visit the International Space Station and the return trajectory required to bring the crew and the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft back to Earth safely.

NASA will provide live coverage of departure activities beginning at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, April 23, with hatch closure targeted for 6:30 p.m. Coverage will resume at 8:15 p.m. for the undocking. Teams will continue to monitor weather at the splashdown sites prior to undocking to ensure conditions are acceptable for a safe recovery of the Ax-1 astronauts and Dragon spacecraft.

NASA and Axiom mission planning prepared for the possibility of additional time on station for the private astronauts, and there are sufficient provisions for all 11 crew members aboard the space station. The Ax-1 crew continues to work through previously planned mission activities. The Ax-1 crew and Dragon spacecraft remain healthy.

The departure of Dragon Endeavour from the space station will clear the docking port for the arrival of Dragon Freedom and NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts. The earliest potential launch opportunity for the Crew-4 mission is 4:15 a.m. Tuesday, April 26, with additional opportunities Wednesday, April 27, and Thursday, April 28. These launch opportunities are undergoing a more detailed program review to ensure they align with integrated operational timelines. The teams want to provide a two-day gap after Ax-1 return for data reviews from splashdown and to prepare for the Crew-4 launch, including the staging of recovery assets.

The Crew-4 astronauts spent last night at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida rehearsing the countdown to their launch inside the SpaceX Dragon Freedom, the company’s newest crew ship. Overnight, Crew-4 Commander Kjell Lindgren, Pilot Robert Hines with Mission Specialists Jessica Watkins and Samantha Cristoforetti, put on their pressure suits and entered their vehicle conducting a successful dry dress rehearsal. The Falcon 9 rocket, with the Freedom perched atop, stands at Launch Complex 39A.

Expedition 67 crewmates Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, who are also the SpaceX Crew-3 commander and pilot respectively, spent a little time on Wednesday with their upcoming departure activities. The pair, along with Kayla Barron of NASA and Matthias Maurer of ESA, will wait for the arrival of their Crew-4 replacements before returning to Earth a few days later inside the Dragon Endurance vehicle. The four astronauts had a light-duty day on Wednesday scheduling in some housecleaning tasks.

Over in the Russian segment of the station, cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev wrapped up their post-spacewalk activities today stowing their tools and discussing the excursion with specialists on the ground. The duo kicked off a series of spacewalks on April 18 to configure the European robotic arm for operations on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov started his day with electronics and communications maintenance before studying future spacecraft and robotic piloting techniques in the afternoon.

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.

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.

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.