SpaceX launches crew-4 mission to ISS

TEHRAN, Apr. 27 (MNA) – NASA's SpaceX Crew-4 mission has launched from the United States, bound for the International Space Station (ISS).

If all goes according to plan, the three US astronauts and their European Space Agency (ESA) crewmate from Italy will reach the space station after a 17-hour flight.

They will then begin a six-month science mission orbiting some 420 kilometres above Earth.

The latest mission, designated Crew 4, marks the fourth time a fully-fledged ISS crew NASA has been sent to orbit onboard a SpaceX vehicle since the private rocket venture founded by Elon Musk began flying US space agency astronauts in 2020.

SpaceX has launched six previous human spaceflights over the past two years.

The Crew 4 team will be welcomed aboard by seven existing ISS occupants, the four Crew 3 members they will be replacing — three American astronauts and a German ESA crewmate due to end their mission in early May — and three Russian cosmonauts.

The launch came less than two days after a separate four-man team organised by Houston-based company Axiom Space returned from a two-week mission as the ISS's first all-private astronaut crew, splashing down on Monday in a different SpaceX capsule.

It also follows a flurry of recent Astro-tourism flights. Last July, two commercial space operators, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, launched back-to-back suborbital flights with their respective billionaire founders, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, riding along.

ZZ/PR

News Code 186195

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