Launching from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, will launch aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Crew-4 mission. The European segment of the mission is called Minerva. Crew-4 is scheduled for a long duration stay of up to six months aboard station conducting science and maintenance before returning to Earth in the fall of 2022. During this 6 month time period, the crew will perform more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations that will take place during their mission.
The Crew-4 mission will fly a new Crew Dragon spacecraft and will launch on a Falcon 9 booster that has previously sent four missions into space. It is tradition the first astronauts to fly a new capsule name their spacecraft; Crew-4 chose “Freedom” to celebrate a fundamental human right, and the industry and innovation that emanate from the unencumbered human spirit. After docking, the Crew-3 mission will undock from the space station and splashdown off the coast of Florida several days after Crew-4’s arrival.
Prelaunch activities, along with launch and docking will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. There is a NASA social event for this launch, which is a great way to meet others who love space and provide unique perspectives on the event. Members of the public can register to attend this launch virtually. NASA’s virtual guest program for this mission also includes curated launch resources, notifications about related opportunities or changes, and a stamp for the NASA virtual guest passport following a successful launch.