NASA, SpaceX push back target launch date for Crew-4 mission

Launch targeted no earlier than 5:26 a.m. ET April 23

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. From left: NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 mission specialist Jessica Watkins, NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 pilot Robert Hines, NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 commander Kjell Lindgren, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut and Crew-4 mission specialist Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy. (NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA and SpaceX announced Tuesday they are pushing back the target launch date for the Crew-4 mission to the end of April.

The upcoming crewed mission to the International Space Station will take place no earlier than 5:26 a.m. ET on Saturday, April 23, NASA said in a tweet.

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The launch was previously slated for no earlier than Tuesday, April 19, due to the delay in Axiom’s first all-private crewed mission.

NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins, Robert Hines and Kjell Lindgreen, along with European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, will launch from Kennedy Space Center in a new Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket, NASA says.

In case of further delays, NASA also said Sunday, April 24, and Monday, April 25, would act as additional backup dates.

In a training session earlier this month, the crew took part in simulations “focused on undocking and department” from the space station.

“All four astronauts practiced in a high-fidelity simulator of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, complete with flight-realistic hardware, displays, and seats. Each astronaut gained experience suiting up and configuring the spacecraft for departure,” NASA said.

The agency’s flight readiness review, which focuses on preparing SpaceX’s crew transportation system, the space station, and its international partners, will be held on Friday.

The upcoming launch is set to follow last Friday’s first all-private mission to the space station when SpaceX and Axiom Space sent Michael Lopez-Alegria, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe up in the sky in a Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule.

About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.