SpaceX, NASA targeting April 15 for launch of Crew-4 mission to space station

Here’s one thing to make the following Tax Day a bit extra bearable.

SpaceX and NASA are targeting April 15, 2022, for the launch of the (*15*) mission to the International Space Station, agency officers announced yesterday (Sept. 7). If all goes in accordance to plan, a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule will launch that day atop a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

The Crew Dragon will probably be carrying NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Robert Hines and the European Space Agency’s Samantha Cristoforetti, in addition to a fourth crewmember who has not but been named.

Related: SpaceX’s next astronaut launch for NASA delayed a week by ‘visiting traffic’ at space station

As its identify suggests, Crew-4 would be the fourth contracted space station mission with astronauts that SpaceX flies for NASA. The first of these six-month stints, Crew-1, is within the books; it launched in November 2020 and returned to Earth this previous May. Crew-2 launched in April and is scheduled to wrap up in early November. SpaceX and NASA are targeting Oct. 31 for Crew-3’s liftoff. 

(SpaceX additionally launched two NASA astronauts to the space station in May 2020. That two-month check mission, often known as Demo-2, was SpaceX’s first-ever crewed spaceflight, and its success paved the way for operational missions.)

SpaceX has one other crewed mission on the docket earlier than Crew-3 — the non-public Inspiration4 flight, which is scheduled to launch from KSC on Sept. 15. Inspiration4 will ship Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Christopher Sembroski into orbit on a Crew Dragon, which can circle Earth solo for three days, then come again down for a parachute-aided splashdown within the Atlantic Ocean.

Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a ebook concerning the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook. 

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