Two astronauts take off in a space capsule from SpaceX to the International Space Station (ISS). In addition to Italian Samantha Cristoforetti, Americans as Jill Lindgren, Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins are flying aboard the Crew Dragon, which is scheduled to dock automatically with the space station on Wednesday. It’s the maiden flight of the spacecraft, called Freedom, and the mission, called Crew-4, is the fourth regular flight of NASA’s SpaceX spacecraft to the International Space Station. By the time Crew-3 with German Matthias Maurer departs the International Space Station in a few days, the crew aboard the space station will rise again to 11.
A lot is going on at the Kennedy Space Center
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched Wednesday night from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it has been particularly busy the past few days. Since mid-March, the US space agency has not only tried – in vain – to successfully complete a rehearsal for the giant SLS rocket. On April 8, a specially organized, fully organized mission Axiom-1 took off from there, bringing three space tourists and a professional astronaut to the International Space Station for more than ten days. While these planes are now back and the SLS is back in the hangar, the Cristoforetti crew will remain in space for several months.
For Cristoforetti, this is already the second flight to the International Space Station, from fall 2014 to mid-2015 she has already spent 199 days on the outpost of humanity, thus setting a new record. Your second mission is now called Minerva, after the Roman character goddess. On board, Cristoforetti is scheduled to conduct dozens of experiments and, as the commander of the US Orbital Sectors (USOS), will be responsible for the activities of all non-Russian units and components of the International Space Station.