SpaceX will launch a new historic astronaut mission tomorrow

Crew-4 features NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren (who leads the mission), Robert Haines, Jessica Watkins, and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who flies on behalf of the European Space Agency.

“That’s when you need to rest and prepare to fly and still keep an eye on the equipment and make sure you make the right decision,” Lueders said.

Here’s everything you need to know about Crew-4.

What makes this trip historic?

Watkins would become the first black woman to perform such a task.

Although more than a dozen black Americans – including four black women – have traveled into space since Guion Bluford first did so in 1983, no black woman has had the opportunity to live and work in space for as long as the station. Space. More than 200 astronauts have made this possible since 2000.

“I think this is definitely an important milestone for both of us. [space] “I think it’s really just a tribute to the legacy of the black astronauts who came before me and the exciting future ahead,” Watkins said at a news conference last month.

He has a long history of working for NASA. He began his career there as an intern and has previously worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where he worked with Rover Curiosity Mars. . An educated geologist, he has studied the surface of the Red Planet.
Watkins co-workers call him by the nickname “What. ”

Who else is in this position?

The crew for this task is among the first to have as many women as men. Cristoforetti, who previously traveled to the International Space Station in 2014, is also the only woman on the European Space Agency’s astronaut team. But Cristoforetti told reporters last month that the situation “will end very soon”.

“We definitely hope to have some great bitches [ESA] employees until the end of the year.

Cristoforetti, an Italian Air Force veteran who earned the wings of a fighter pilot, joined the European Space Agency in 2009.

Haynes is a 22-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran traveling to space for the first time since being appointed to NASA’s astronaut team in 2017.

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins on the left as Jill Lindgren on the left, European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforettia on the right and NASA astronaut Robert Haines on the right as they leave the launch center and NASA landing.  Kennedy Space Center.

Lindgren, who leads this position, has a qualification in emergency medicine and works as a ground flight surgeon at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and supports other astronaut missions. Lindgren was born in Taiwan and spent most of his childhood in England before moving to the United States and attending the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The four astronauts trained for months together and even took some time to make connections outside of lessons. Watkins pointed out that they took a kayak trip to Eastern Washington “just to take the time to get to know each other and understand how we all work … and what makes each of us work, and I think that would be really important.”

“We’re getting along really well,” Lindgren added. “It’s a pleasure to have these guys on this team.”

How do they get into space?

The crew will travel to the International Space Station with the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, the seventh manned mission since. Deployment in 2020.

Although SpaceX redesigned the Crew Dragon and three capsules are already in use, the Crew-4 will fly in a completely new spacecraft.

The astronauts are named after their capsules, and this group chose Crew Dragon’s “Freedom.”

Crew Dragon was developed by SpaceX under a $ 2.6 billion contract with NASA as part of the Commercial Crew Program. The idea of ​​the program was to make NASA a customer role – allowing private companies to design, build and test new spacecraft to serve NASA astronauts while the vehicle is owned by the company.

Because SpaceX controls the vehicle, it has the ability to sell seats to anyone who wants it, so the entire company just completed a special mission and the previous space travel mission last September.

NASA has called the program a great success, and the Space Agency is adopting the same method to hire many of the vehicles involved in its lunar exploration.

What are they doing in space?

After arriving Wednesday night, the crew will be greeted by a team of astronauts already on the International Space Station – including three NASA astronauts and a European Space Agency astronaut who were part of SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission – and three Russian cosmonauts.

There will be a five-day delivery period during which Crew-3 astronauts will help establish Crew-4 astronauts before Crew-3 flies home with its SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

Next, Crew-4 astronauts will work on all scientific experiments and space station maintenance tasks on their to-do list.

According to NASA, “the experiments include studies on the aging of the immune system, the replacement of biomaterials, and the effects on the heart and respiratory system during and after long-term microgravity exposure.” “These are just a few of the more than 200 scientific experiments and technology demonstrations that will be conducted during the mission.”

Crew-3 is scheduled to return from space in September, shortly after SpaceX began its Crew-5 mission.

CNN’s Megan Marbles attended.

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