Samantha will be launched to the Station in SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft Freedom alongside NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines and Jessica Watkins.
Introduction to Crew-4
Kjell Lindgren is commander of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Crew-4 mission. He is responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry, and will serve as an Expedition 67 flight engineer aboard the station. This will be Lindgren’s second spaceflight since becoming an astronaut in 2009. In 2015, he spent 141 days aboard the station as an Expedition 44/45 flight engineer. Board certified in emergency medicine, he previously worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston as a flight surgeon supporting space station training and operations and served as a deputy crew surgeon for space shuttle flight STS-130 and Expedition 24. Lindgren was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and spent most of his childhood in England before graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Robert Hines is the pilot of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and second in command for the mission. He is responsible for spacecraft systems and performance. Onboard the station, he will serve as an Expedition 67 flight engineer. This will be his first flight since his selection as an astronaut in 2017. Hines has served more than 22 years in the U.S. Air Force as a test pilot, fighter pilot, and instructor pilot. Before his selection in 2017, he was a research pilot at Johnson.
Jessica Watkins is a mission specialist for Crew-4 and will work closely with the commander and pilot to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. Once aboard the station, she will become a flight engineer for Expedition 67. Watkins grew up in Lafayette, Colorado, and studied geology at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, and the University of California, Los Angeles. As a geologist, she studied the surface of Mars and was a science team collaborator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, working on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. She also was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2017, and this will be her first trip to space.
Samantha Cristoforetti will also serve as a mission specialist, working to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. She will be a flight engineer for Expedition 67. This will be her second trip to space following five months in 2015 as an Expedition 42/43 flight engineer. Born in Milan, Italy, she was a fighter pilot in the Italian Air Force prior to being selected as an ESA astronaut in 2009. In 2019, she served as commander for NASA’s 23rd Extreme Environment Mission Operations mission on a 10-day stay in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research station.
Collectively known as Crew-4, the astronauts will be launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from launchpad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.
Once Crew-4 arrives at the Space Station, Samantha’s ESA mission Minerva will officially begin.
This is the second mission for the Italian ESA astronaut who spent almost 200 days in orbit for her Italian Space Agency ASI-sponsored Futura mission in 2014-15.
Samantha selected the name Minerva for her second mission as a homage to the men and women all over the world who make human spaceflight possible.
“Minerva was also a warrior goddess, so she embodies the fortitude, the toughness and the discipline that is required of us, as well as the wisdom that we aspire to demonstrate, as we consolidate and expand human presence in space,” she explains.
Throughout Minerva, Samantha will serve as a member of Expedition 67 and hold responsibility for activities within the US Orbital Segment.
This segment comprises the US, European, Japanese and Canadian modules and components of the Space Station.
Upon arrival, she will be greeted by a number of familiar faces including fellow ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer. Matthias was launched with Crew-3 in November 2021 and will soon return to Earth following around six months in orbit for his first mission Cosmic Kiss.
Crew-4 is expected to dock to the International Space Station in the early hours of Thursday, at approximately 03:15 CEST (01:15 GMT) 28 April. Hatch will open around two hours after docking.
Meet the Crew-4 Astronauts – NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Mission
ESA Web TV