SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts prepare for next month’s ISS mission
SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts are making their final preparations for next month’s mission to the International Space Station.
NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti are set to launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket from the Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday, April 15.
While Lindgren and Cristoforetti have been to space before, the Crew-4 mission will mark the first such trip for Hines and Watkins.
The crew trained for their next mission at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., as well as Kennedy Space Center.
Preparations involve simulation exercises aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft simulator that includes realistic in-flight hardware, displays and seats.
Crew Dragon training includes familiarization with routine tasks but also, more importantly, learning how to handle unexpected situations onboard the spacecraft such as system failures.
“Commander Lindgren and Pilot Hines took their places in the center seats, with access to flight displays which they will use to monitor the status of the spacecraft and, if necessary, take manual control of the spacecraft.” NASA said.
The four crewmates also took a trip on SpaceX’s Dragon recovery craft which will be used to recover astronauts after the splashdown at the end of their mission later this year. Offering insight into wider SpaceX operations, the astronauts also toured a SpaceX hangar where Falcon 9 reusable rockets are refurbished and prepared for flight.
April’s Crew-4 mission will take place 20 months after SpaceX’s first crewed flight which saw NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken use the Crew Dragon spacecraft to travel to and from the space station on the mission. Demo-2 test.
After the success of the inaugural mission, SpaceX sent four Crew 1 astronauts to the ISS for a six-month stay in November 2020.