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SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule launched on Falcon 9 rocket, carrying 4 astronauts to ISS for NASA

Just days after the SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed off the coast of Florida, designed by wealthy adventurers, another was launched on Wednesday, this time for the NASA mission to the International Space Station.

At 3:52 GMT (0752 GMT, or 1:22 pm IST), the Crew 4 mission crashed from the Kennedy Space Center with Americans Kesel Lindgren, Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins, as well as Italian Samantha Christophoretti, an Italian from the European Space Agency. .

The event was broadcast live on the NASA website and on social media.

The fastest turnaround time for SpaceX – less than 40 hours between recovering one crew and sending another – is a sign of the growing human spaceflight calendar since Elon Musk’s company became NASA’s leading astronaut taxi in 2020.

Between 2011 – when the space shuttle program ended – and between 2020, NASA relied on Russian Soyuz rockets for service.

“Think about how the Cape has transformed, think about the launchpads left in the Cape and how they are coming back to life,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a press conference Tuesday.

Crew-4 will join Crew-3 Quartet, which is nearing the end of a five-month rotation in the ISS, as well as three Russians in the Russian section of the Orbital Outpost.

Crew-3 return date will be set soon.

Crew-4 will carry out hundreds of scientific experiments, including ongoing research on growing plants without soil in space.

Another is the development of an artificial human retina, enhancing the microgravity environment of the ISS, which helps to deposit layer after layer of thin layer of protein.

The technology could eventually be used to replace damaged photoreceptor cells in the eyes and restore meaningful vision to millions of people with retinal detachment disease, says NASA scientist Heidi Paris.

Among the crew, Watkins was the fifth black woman to go into space and the first to join the ISS crew on an expanded mission.

Crews must arrive at the space lab 17 hours after launch, with a docking plan scheduled for Wednesday night at 8:15 (0015 GMT, or Thursday morning 5:45 am IST).

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