NASA and SpaceX make final preparations to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from Kennedy Space Center launch complex 39A. The Crew-4 astronauts were originally scheduled to launch on Saturday, April 23, but due to the late departure of the Ax-1 mission from the ISS, the mission will not launch until Wednesday, April 27 at the earliest.
NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins, along with European Space Agency’s Samantha Cristoforetti, will launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
The flight will be SpaceX’s fourth operational transport mission and fifth manned mission overall after the Dragon completed its first astronaut flight in 2020 in a demonstration mission.
What to expect
NASA’s livestream shows the astronauts making their way to the Falcon 9 rocket and being strapped into their seats in the Crew Dragon capsule. Multiple cameras will also cover the launch of the rocket, the separation of the stages and the landing of the rocket’s first stage on Earth. Later coverage will show the astronauts in the spacecraft as they travel to the ISS.
How to watch?
A Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying the Crew-4 astronauts will lift off from Kennedy’s launch complex 39A at 3:52 a.m. ET (12:52 a.m. PT) on Wednesday, April 27.
The livestream will start a few hours earlier, with NASA not yet announcing an exact time. You can watch it through the video player at the top of this page or through NASA’s YouTube channel, which will have the same feed. Obviously the launch time isn’t great for folks in the US, but the stream will still be available when you wake up on Wednesday.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft is expected to reach the ISS approximately 24 hours after launch, followed by the autonomous docking, opening of the hatches and the welcome ceremony, where the crew will meet their counterparts on the ISS for the first time.
There is a chance that a technical problem or bad weather conditions could delay the launch, so keep an eye on this page or NASA’s Twitter feed for the latest updates.
In the meantime, watch NASA’s recently posted video of the Crew-4 astronauts preparing for their mission.