For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
CAPE CANAVERAL/KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – The Crew-4 multinational team of astronauts from the US and Italy concluded their nearly six-month science expedition aboard the International Space Station (ISS) by floating into their SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom spacecraft Friday morning, Oct. 14, undocking for final departure and return to Earth and culminating with a successful splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, Friday afternoon.
After 170 days and 2,720 orbits in space NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown at 4:55 p.m. EDT (2055 GMT), Friday, Oct. 14.
“After 170 days in orbit, our SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts safely splashed down at 4:55pm ET (20:55 UTC) Friday off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, completing our fourth @Commercial_Crew mission to the International @Space_Station,” tweeted NASA with a splashdown photo.
After 170 days in orbit, our SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts safely splashed down at 4:55pm ET (20:55 UTC) Friday off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, completing our fourth @Commercial_Crew mission to the International @Space_Station: https://t.co/XLOeKCjrTM pic.twitter.com/yH5KYONXZa
— NASA (@NASA) October 14, 2022
The astronauts undocked from the space facing port on the Harmony module some 5 hours earlier at 12:05 p.m. ET Friday, to begin the journey back home for the fiery and scorching reentry through Earths atmosphere.
Friday’s return to Earth was picture perfect after a two day weather delay and the parachutes operated flawlessly all the way from deployment to ocean touchdown.
Welcome home @SpaceX #Crew4 astronauts after a 170-day @ISS_Research mission that began on April 27! Splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean occurred at 4:55pm ET today. More… https://t.co/Kfzv8VmUdP pic.twitter.com/5OjWFKsBmL
— International Space Station (@Space_Station) October 14, 2022
Teams aboard SpaceX recovery vessels quickly retrieved the spacecraft and the astronaut quartet.
After returning to shore, all astronauts will fly to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Cristoforetti then will board a plane to Europe.
“Welcome home! Crew-4 NASA astronauts @astro_watkins, @astro_farmerbob, @astro_kjell, and @ESA’s @AstroSamantha are seen inside the @SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom after splashdown off the coast of Florida. Check back for more images: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAb7MB,” NASA tweeted with a post splashdown photo of the crew seated inside the floating SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom.
Welcome home! Crew-4 NASA astronauts @astro_watkins, @astro_farmerbob, @astro_kjell, and @ESA’s @AstroSamantha are seen inside the @SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom after splashdown off the coast of Florida. Check back for more images 📷: https://t.co/aaEByAsrES pic.twitter.com/cPobRGiSr5
— NASA HQ PHOTO (@nasahqphoto) October 14, 2022
“Welcome home Crew-4! This international crew has spent nearly six months on the International Space Station conducting science for the benefit of all. Their work aboard the orbiting laboratory will help prepare future explorers for future space missions,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“Working and living on the space station is the opportunity of a lifetime, but it also requires these explorers to make sacrifices, especially time away from loved ones. Kjell, Bob, Jessica and Samantha, thank you for your contributions over the past six months to science, innovation, and discovery!”
Crew-4 began their half year stay in space with a spectacular overnight liftoff at 3:52 a.m. ET from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida aboard the brand new SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom spacecraft on Wednesday, April 27.
Barely 16 hours after liftoff they arrived and docked at the International Space Station (ISS) at the Harmony module’s space-facing port to start a half year science expedition Wednesday evening, April 27.
Crew-4 was replaced by a new quartet, the Crew-5 quartet of astronauts and cosmonauts who launched to the ISS on Oct. 5 and docked at the forward facing port on Harmony for a new half year science stay on the Expedition 68 mission.
The ISS population briefly grew to 11 as Crew-4 and Crew-5 overlapped a few days for handover.
Crew-4 was a mixture of 2 veteran (Lindgren & Cristoforetti who previously visited ISS for long term stays) and 2 rookie (Hines & Watkins) space flyers.
Jessica Watkins, a geologist by training, is the first black woman to be assigned to a long term mission aboard the ISS.
She was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2017 together with her crewmate Bob Hines.
Lindgren has logged 311 days in space over his two flights, and with the completion of their flight today, Cristoforetti has logged 369 days in space on her two flights, making her second on the all-time list for most days in space by a woman. The Crew-4 mission was the first spaceflight for Hines and Watkins.
Throughout their mission, the Crew-4 astronauts contributed to a host of science and maintenance activities and technology demonstrations. Cristoforetti completed two spacewalks with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev to perform station maintenance and upgrades.
Crew-4 continued work on investigations documenting how improvements to the space diet affect immune function and the gut microbiome, determining the effect of fuel temperature on the flammability of a material, exploring possible adverse effects on astronaut hearing from equipment noise and microgravity, and studying whether additives increase or decrease the stability of emulsions. The astronauts also investigated microgravity-induced changes in the human immune system similar to aging, tested a novel water-reclamation membrane, and examined a concrete alternative made with a material found in lunar and Martian dust.
Crew Dragon Freedom will return to Florida for inspection and processing at SpaceX’s Dragon Lair, where teams will examine the spacecraft’s data and performance throughout the flight.
The Crew-4 and Crew-5 flights are part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission counts as the fourth crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
Crew 4 also marked the 7th human spaceflight mission for the SpaceX Crew Dragon fleet counting 5 missions to the ISS for NASA (DM-2, Crew-1, Crew-2, Crew-3 and Crew-4) and 2 private missions (I4 & AX-1).
Watch Ken’s commentary about Crew-4 & Crew-5 and Project Artemis, NASA SLS WDR demo test, NASA SpaceX Crew & Cargo Dragons and more.
Oct 12: WFTV ABC News Orlando featured my commentary about NASA setting new launch date for Artemis 1 in mid-November and Dennis Tito, the 1st space tourist, plans to fly around the moon on a commercial SpaceX reusable Starship mission in a few years
Oct 5: Two Fox 35 interviews –
Live prelaunch interview on Fox 35 Orlando about NASA Crew-5 launch: ‘Whats’ the purpose of the Crew-5 mission”
Post-launch interview with Fox 35 Orlando about successful Crew-5 blastoff to ISS on Oct 5
Oct 3: Interview with Fox 35 Orlando previewing the Crew-5 mission
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Artemis, SpaceX missions, SLS, Orion and NASA missions, SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragons, SpaceX Axiom-1, JWST, IXPE, DART, Lucy Asteroid mission, GOES, SpaceX Starlink, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon, Blue Origin and Space Tourism, and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2 & 3 & 4, ISS, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Oct 5/14/19 from 7 to 9 PM Quality Inn, Titusville, FL: Join Ken and Jean for Artemis 1 and space mission and rocket launch outreach. Ask us anything. plus display our photos and space apparel items for sale
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on top at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is poised for liftoff on the NASA ESA SpaceX Crew-4 mission launch to the ISS. Launch targeted for NET April 27, 2022. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com
NASA ESA Crew 4 astronaut team of Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins, and Samantha Cristoforetti during walkout and drive to launch pad hours before planned launch on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on top at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 27, 2022. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com