SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts name brand-new Crew Dragon spacecraft 'Freedom'

SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts name brand-new Crew Dragon spacecraft 'Freedom'

SpaceX is ready to launch the fourth operational NASA Commercial Crew Program mission, known as Crew-4. It will launch an international crew to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday, April 19 [time pending]. The Crew-4 NASA astronauts are Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, who will ride alongside European Space Agency (ESA) Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti aboard a brand-new Crew Dragon spacecraft. "FREEDOM!! Crew-4 will fly to the International Space Station in a new Dragon capsule named 'Freedom'," said NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, "The name celebrates a fundamental human right, and the industry and innovation that emanate from the unencumbered human spirit." 

"Through the Commercial Crew Program, NASA and SpaceX have restored a national capability and we honor the ingenuity and hard work of those involved.  Alan Shepard flew on Freedom 7 at the dawn of human spaceflight. We are honored to bring Freedom to a new generation!" wrote Lindgren via Twitter. 



Crew Dragon Freedom is the fourth spacecraft in SpaceX's reusable fleet that includes: Endeavour, Resilience, and Endurance. The company aims to use each spacecraft at least five times for crewed missions. Freedom will be propelled to orbit by a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket that will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 19. SpaceX has used a previously-flown rocket for a crewed flight, however, the upcoming Crew-4 mission will be the first commercial crew mission to launch astronauts on a booster's fourth flight.

According to NASA Commercial Crew Manager Steve Stich, the agency plans to launch Crew-4 using first-stage booster identified as B1067, which previously launched the company’s 22nd cargo Commercial Resupply Services mission to the orbiting laboratory (CRS-22) in June 2021, then it launched Crew-3 astronauts to the ISS in November 2021, and it deployed Turkey’s Turksat-5B satellite in December 2021. Now, the previously-flown booster will launch the Crew-4 astronauts aboard Freedom to the Space Station. Stitch told reporters at the conference that the agency is “working on an evolutionary path to fly a booster up to five times” for crewed flights. SpaceX recovers rockets by conducting propulsive landings. The booster that will launch Crew-4 to space is filled with scorch marks from reentering Earth’s atmosphere multiple times, pictured below. 


Photo Source: Ben Cooper @LaunchPhoto via Twitter

Featured Image Source: SpaceX

About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

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.

Follow me on Twitter

Reading next

Tesla FSD Beta Could Be Submitted to European Regulators this Summer, Says Elon Musk
Tesla Model Y with LiDAR Retrofit for Calibration Spotted in Canada