On April 18th 2022 NASA & ESA Astronauts Arrive At Kennedy Space Center For Saturday April 23rd Launch!

Just after 12:30 PM EDT NASA Duel Engine N95NA Gulf-stream Aerospace G-V (672) arrived at the Space Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center from Houston Texas with the Crew 4 astronauts comprised of three NASA astronauts and one from ESA the European Space Agency.

Veteran astronaut and mission commander Kjell Lindgren, pilot Bob (Farmer) Hines, mission specialist Jessica Watkins and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from Italy are thrilled to be a Kennedy Space Center and their mission is less than five days away now.

Robert Hines and Jessica Watkins will make their first trip into space along with other two veterans. They all mentioned that the most prized items they are taking into space are their family photos and a stuffed favorite toy from their children which happens to be a turtle a symbol of the NASA astronaut class that two of them are from.

Crew 4 will fly on an new SpaceX Dragon capsule that they have named Freedom! Mission pilot Robert Hines said “For our crew to have not only the opportunity to fly on a new vehicle, but to name a new vehicle, is truly an honor!”

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will be working on numerous ESA experiments that started with both Crew 2 & 3 which makes the third consecutive crewed flight for the European Space Agency to the ISS via SpaceX & NASA.

The Crew 3 astronauts will complete the hand over to Crew 4 for a couple of days before they will undock their SpaceX Dragon capsule and return to Florida completing their six month stay on the space station.

Jessica Watkins will make history being the first black American female to complete a six month long duration mission on the International Space Station.

Before Crew 4 arrival SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage booster B-1060-12 with a new second stage was transported in front of the VAB on the way to SLC-40 for the next Starlink 4-14 mission this Thursday April 21st at 11:15 AM EDT for its twelve flight to space.

It was an inspiring day today to see and hear the Crew 4 enthusiasm and eagerness to start their all important mission to the ISS.

Article and Photos by Scott Schilke for spacenews.lu & space-news.es