Four NASA astronauts on the Crew-4 mission are in orbit after Wednesday’s launch of Crew Dragon from SLC-39A in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the International Space Station. This is the second manned flight to the International Space Station that SpaceX has conducted in April. Two days ago, the Axiom-1 tourist mission returned to Earth.

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The Falcon 9 rocket was successfully launched. At its top was the Crew Dragon “Freedom” ship with a crew inside. This is SpaceX’s fourth manned rotation mission to be performed under a commercial contract with NASA. The contract relates to the implementation of a permanent rotation of the crew on the International Space Station.

Crew Mission 4

The mission includes Commander Kjell Lindgren, pilot Bob Hines, mission specialist Jessica Watkins and mission specialist Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency (ESA). The crew will lead a microgravity science expedition aboard the space station.

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This will be Lindgren’s second expedition to the International Space Station. He left on his first space mission in 2015 that lasted 141 days. He began working as an astronaut in 2009. Haynes took off for the first time on a space mission on Wednesday. He was selected as an astronaut for NASA in 2017. He previously served for 22 years as a test pilot, combat pilot and instructor in the US Air Force.

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Cristoforetti, originally from Milan, began her second space flight. In 2015, she spent 5 months on the International Space Station. Previously, she was a fighter pilot in the Italian Air Force. In 2009, the European Space Agency accepted her as an astronaut. For Watkins, this is the first spaceflight. As a member of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory research team, she studied the surface of Mars with the Curiosity rover. She was chosen as an astronaut in 2017.

Searching the International Space Station

The current crew will conduct research in microgravity conditions aboard the International Space Station for several months. According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, their research is expected to help the US agency “prepare for longer periods on the Moon – and possibly Mars.” “These missions would not be possible without dedicated NASA and SpaceX teams here on Earth,” Nelson added. During the spacecraft’s flight, SpaceX will observe a series of robotic Dragon maneuvers from its mission control center in Hawthorne, California. NASA teams will monitor space station operations.

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# International Space Station