SpaceX ignited a new era in American human spaceflight last year when it launched the first crewed mission to space from the United States, after nearly a decade since the final Space Shuttle launched astronauts. SpaceX is on track to launch a series of crewed rotational missions to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “The goal of the program is to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective crew access to the space station and low-Earth orbit in partnership with American aerospace industry,” the agency states, “NASA’s contract with SpaceX is for six total crew missions to the orbiting laboratory. Commercial transportation to and from the station will provide expanded utility, additional research time, and broader opportunities for discovery on the orbital outpost.” In November SpaceX conducted the first operational mission under the agency’s program, known as Crew-1. Crew-1 launched NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi. They launched aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex-39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The mission is still ongoing, Crew-1 astronauts are working at ISS and are expected to return until Spring.
SpaceX’s next operational flight, Crew-2, will liftoff no earlier than April 20. The agency says both missions Crew-1 and Crew-2 will overlap. Crew-2 crewmembers are: NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. The astronauts for the third operational mission to the Space Station are also undergoing training. Dragon will launch the Crew-3 mission in September this year. NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer will be part of the crew. The agency stated a fourth Crew-3 member will be added at a later date.
NASA announced today, February 12, it assigned a pair of astronauts for SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission that will be the fourth operational mission to the orbiting laboratory under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program scheduled for 2022. “NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, for the Crew-4 mission,” the agency said in a press release, “Additional crew members will be assigned as mission specialists in the future by the agency’s international partners." The Crew-4 mission will be the first time Hines visits space, “So Blessed to get to be a part of this crew!” he stated. As a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Hines was selected to become a NASA astronaut in 2017. He has a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Before deciding to become an astronaut Hines served for the U.S. military in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Hines also worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as a flight test pilot and at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, as a research pilot.
“Let's go fly! Excited to team up with Bob Hines to fly the SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the Space Station in 2022. I look forward to sharing the journey with you all!” Lindgren said on Friday. It will be his second trip to space. He previously worked at the ISS Lab in 2015, where he stayed 141 days living in microgravity. Lindgren has a medical background, he served as flight surgeon during Space Shuttle missions. He holds a Colorado State University, a master’s degree in cardiovascular physiology, a U.S. Air Force Academy degree in biology, and a medical degree from the University of Colorado. Lindgren was also selected to be part of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to take astronauts back to the lunar surface.
Image Left to right: Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines.
All Images Source: NASA & SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.