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SpaceX sent a Crew Dragon-4 spacecraft with four astronauts to the ISS

On the morning of April 27, SpaceX launched the Crew Dragon-4 spacecraft with four astronauts on board to the International Space Station (ISS). As always, the launch from the initial preparatory phase could be watched live on SpaceX and on NASA’s website.

SpaceX Crew-4 is the seventh manned flight of Crew Dragon 2 and the fourth regular SpaceX mission to change the ISS crew in ongoing contact with NASA and its Commercial Crew Program to support private space transportation companies. For the Crew-4 mission, SpaceX used a refurbished first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket with inventory number B1067 (this was its fourth launch and this is the first time Commercial Crew has used a stage that has flown three times before) and a brand new Crew Dragon C212.1 Freedom.

The launch began at 7:52 a.m. on the East Coast of the United States (10:54 Kyiv’s time) from the Cape Canaveral spaceport in Florida. According to a well-established scheme, two, and a half minutes later the first stage separated, and in the ninth minute after launch, he landed on the newest floating platform A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean.

The second stage worked properly and successfully delivered the ship into the planned orbit.

He will get to the station on his own with the help of his own engines – the arrival is scheduled for April 28 at 03:15 Kyiv time. The ship in the offline mode is docked with the IDA-2 node of the module ‘Harmony’. In the event of an emergency, astronauts will be able to take control and dock manually (previously, SpaceX released a browser simulator to allow anyone to try to dock the ship to the gateway station).

The trajectory and main stages of the Crew Dragon-4 flight to the ISS

Crew Dragon-4 will deliver NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins and Samantha Christophoretti of the European Space Agency (ESA) to the station. They will join the main ISS-67 expedition – now the station has crews Soyuz MS-21 (3 astronauts Roscosmos) and Crew Dragon-4 (3 astronauts NASA + 1 ESA). The Crew-4 mission will last about 4.5 months.

Crew-4 mission crew. From left to right: Jessica Watkins (mission specialist), Bob Hines (pilot), Kiel Lindgren (spaceship commander) and Samantha Cristoforetti (mission specialist)

On April 25, the crew of Crew Dragon Ax-1, the first space mission of SpaceX and Axiom on the ISS, returned to Earth. Due to bad weather, they spent 15 days at the station instead of the planned 10, and therefore the launch of Crew Dragon-4 was postponed from April 23 to April 27. The Crew-3 crew, which has been at the station since November 2021, will return to Earth next week. We can also mention the second demonstration flight (without crew) of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner – it is scheduled for May 19.

In the fall, SpaceX plans to conduct the next rotation of the ISS crew as part of the fifth Crew-5 operational mission and another tourist flight, during which the crew will not get on the ISS, but will be able to go into outer space.

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Source ITC
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