NASA assigned the crewmembers that will fly aboard SpaceX’s next mission to the International Space Station (ISS); It will be the company’s sixth crewed flight and the fourth operational mission to the orbiting laboratory under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, known as Crew-4. The mission is scheduled for April 2022. A Falcon 9 rocket will launch the crew aboard a brand new Crew Dragon spacecraft that is under manufacturing at SpaceX’s facility.
The Crew-4 members are: NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Robert Hines, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, and today the agency announced NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins is assigned to SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission. It will be her first trip to outer space, she will serve as mission specialist.
NASA Astronaut Jessica Watkins
Watkins joined NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Class in 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University, and a Doctorate in Geology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The agency shared she conducted “graduate research on the emplacement mechanisms of large landslides on Mars and Earth.” And worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she collaborated with NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory that manages the Curiosity Rover that is currently exploring Mars' terrain.
NASA Astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren
NASA Astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren will serve as spacecraft commander. He is an emergency medical doctor who served as the Deputy Crew Surgeon for human spaceflight missions. He was selected to become an astronaut in June 2009. Dr. Lindgren flew to outer space in 2015 and worked at ISS as part of Expedition 44/45. He spent a total 141 days in space and participated in 2 spacewalks. The Crew-4 mission will be his second spaceflight.
NASA Astronaut Robert Hines
NASA Astronaut Robert (Bob) Hines has served more than 21 years in the United States Air Force as an instructor pilot, fighter pilot, and a test pilot. Before joining NASA’s Astronaut class in 2017, he was a Research Pilot at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. He has flown 50 different aircraft and has accumulated more than 3,500 hours of flight time on 76 combat missions around the world. Hines will serve as SpaceX Crew-4 spaceflight pilot, it will be his first spaceflight.
ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti
ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti became the first Italian woman to visit outer space. She is a former Italian Air Force pilot and engineer. She holds the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a European astronaut, with a total of 199 days, 16 hours spent working in outer space. Cristoforetti has made history and the Mattel toy company even made a Barbie doll of her to inspire girls to be curious about science and engineering. She will serve as Crew-4 mission specialist and become commander of the Space Station Expedition 68. “Returning to the International Space Station to represent Europe is an honour in itself,” Cristoforetti stated in an ESA press release. “I am humbled by my appointment to the position of commander and look forward to drawing on the experience I’ve gained in space and on Earth to lead a very capable team in orbit.”
All Images Source: NASA & ESA