Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tech & Science

SpaceX set to launch its latest crew to ISS for NASA

Days after a SpaceX Dragon capsule crewed by wealthy adventurers splashed down off Florida’s coast, another is set to launch Wednesday.

With weather appearing favorable, the Crew-4 mission should blast off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:52 am local time (0752 GMT)
With weather appearing favorable, the Crew-4 mission should blast off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:52 am local time (0752 GMT) - Copyright AFP Florian CAZERES
With weather appearing favorable, the Crew-4 mission should blast off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:52 am local time (0752 GMT) - Copyright AFP Florian CAZERES

Days after a SpaceX Dragon capsule crewed by wealthy adventurers splashed down off Florida’s coast, another is set to launch Wednesday, this time for a NASA mission to the International Space Station.

With weather appearing favorable, the Crew-4 mission should blast off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:52 am (0752 GMT), carrying Americans Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins, as well as Italian Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency.

The event will be livestreamed on NASA’s website and social media.

The rapid turnaround time for SpaceX — a little under 40 hours between recovering one crew and sending up another — is a sign of an increasingly busy human spaceflight calendar since Elon Musk’s company became NASA’s mainstay astronaut taxi in 2020.

Between 2011 — when the Space Shuttle program ended — and 2020, NASA was reliant on Russian Soyuz rockets for the service.

“Think how the Cape has transformed, think about all of those abandoned launchpads on the Cape, and how they are roaring back to life,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a press call Tuesday.

Crew-4 will join the Crew-3 quartet, who are approaching the end of their five-month rotation on the ISS, as well as three Russians on the Russian segment of the orbital outpost. 

A date for Crew-3’s return will be set soon. 

Crew-4 is due to carry out hundreds of scientific experiments, including ongoing research into growing plants without soil in space.

Another involves developing an artificial human retina, leveraging the microgravity environment of the ISS to help deposit layer after layer of thin films of protein.

The technology “could eventually be used to replace damaged photoreceptor cells in the eyes and potentially restore meaningful vision to the millions of people who suffer from retinal degenerative disease,” said NASA scientist Heidi Parris.

Among the crewmates, Watkins will be only the fifth Black woman to go to space, and the first to join the crew of the ISS on an extended mission.

The crew should reach the space lab 17 hours after launch, with docking planned for 8:15 pm Wednesday (0015 GMT Thursday).

Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

You may also like:

World

After the SCOTUS decision on Roe v Wade was announced, the biggest searches on Google were "How to move to Canada."

World

Abortion bans enacted across America will be especially painful for women in the US military.

World

A long-delayed conference on how to restore the faltering health of global oceans kicked off in Lisbon on Monday.

World

President Zelensky will urge world powers to step up their support for Ukraine when he addresses the G7 summit on Monday.