In apparently favorable weather, the Crew 4 mission will take off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3.52 local time (04.52 Brasília time), the Americans Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins, and the Italian Samantha Cristoforetti. , From the European Space Agency.
SpaceX’s fast response time – just under 40 hours between one crew pickup and another deployment – is a sign of a human spaceflight schedule that has become increasingly saturated since Tycoon Elon Musk became NASA’s best astronaut taxi in 2020.
From 2011 – when the space shuttle program ended – until 2020, NASA relied on this service for Russian Soyuz rockets.
“Think about how the Cape (Canaveral) has changed, think of all those abandoned launch pads, and how they come to life,” NASA Director Bill Nelson said at a news conference Tuesday.
Crew 4 joins the Crew 3 quartet, which is nearing the end of its five-month cycle on the ISS, as well as three Russians in the Russian segment of the orbit outpost.
The return date for Crew 3 will be scheduled soon.
Crew 4 is scheduled to conduct hundreds of scientific experiments, including ongoing research into the cultivation of soil plants in space.
Another experiment is to develop an artificial human retina utilizing the microgravity environment of the ISS to form thin protein films layer by layer.
This technique “can eventually be used to replace damaged photoreceptor cells in the eye and potentially restore meaningful vision to millions of people suffering from retinal degeneration,” NASA researcher Heidi Parris said.
The crew is expected to arrive at the space laboratory 17 hours after launch and the docking is scheduled for Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. (Brasília on Thursday at 9:15 p.m.).
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