SpaceX is about to send another group of astronauts—three from NASA and one from the European Space Agency(ESA)— to the International Space Station (ISS) in the world’s only reusable orbital rocket.
A Falcon 9 will launch a brand new and unused Crew Dragon capsule called “Freedom” containing four “Expedition 68” astronauts this week when SpaceX and NASA finally launches the Crew-4 mission on an early morning mission.
It’s been delayed because the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1)—the first all private astronaut mission to the ISS—had to delay its undocking and splashdown due to bad weather. However, they’re now home safely.
It will be SpaceX’s fifth flight with astronauts as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The other private company in that program is Boeing, whose Starliner spacecraft requires another test flight in May prior to a planned crewed mission to the ISS in September.
When is the NASA SpaceX Crew-4 launch?
NASA and SpaceX are targeting Wednesday, April 27. The launch will take place at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
The launch is targeted for no earlier than 3:52 a.m. EDT (7:52 a.m. UTC).
Crew-4 has another launch opportunity available on Thursday, April 28, said NASA.
Where and when to watch the NASA SpaceX Crew-4 launch
NASA Television mission commentary coverage begins at midnight EDT.
At around 05:30 a.m. NASA Television will broadcast a post-launch news conference.
“Freedom” is scheduled to dock to the space station at 8:15 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 27.
Who will be on the NASA SpaceX Crew-4 mission?
Inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will be NASA astronauts Jessica Watkin (mission specialist), Bob Hines (pilot) and Kjell Lindgren (commander) as well as European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti (mission specialist) of Italy.
Cristoforetti visited the ISS in late 2014 for six months and was succeeded by Lindgren in 2015.
Expedition 68 will spend 180 days in space.
When will the NASA SpaceX Crew-4 launch reach the ISS?
Crew-4 will have a 24-hour journey to the ISS.
Docking is scheduled for 6 a.m. EDT on Sunday, April 24, with the hatch being opened at 7:50 a.m. EDT.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.