A SpaceX spacecraft, Elon Musk’s company, took off early Wednesday, April 27, for a NASA mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Thanks to a favorable weather window, the spacecraft of the mission dubbed “Crew-4” took off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 3:52 a.m. (9:52 a.m. in Paris) with, on board, the Americans Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins, as well as the Italian Samantha Cristoforetti, from the European Space Agency. The shooting was broadcast live on the NASA website.
SpaceX carried out this launch less than forty hours after picking up another crew. The flight schedule has accelerated since Elon Musk’s company became NASA’s taxi to the ISS.
The four astronauts of “Crew-4” will join another crew up there who sees their return to Earth approaching after a five-month mission, and whose return date will soon be known. The new crew will set up and monitor hundreds of experiments in weightlessness, in particular on plants, as well as an artificial human retina project.
Jessica Watkins is only the fifth black woman to go into space, and the first to join the space station for a long mission. She and her three crewmates are expected to reach the ISS around seventeen hours after liftoff, with docking scheduled for 2:15 a.m. (Paris time) on Thursday.