National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has assigned Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines as commander and pilot, respectively, for the SpaceX Crew-4 mission or the fourth crew rotation flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS).
“The station is a critical testbed for Nasa to understand and overcome the challenges of long-duration spaceflight and to expand commercial opportunities in low-Earth orbit,” the agency said in an official release while talking about the contribution of ISS in making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth.
Additional crew members for the project will be assigned as mission specialists in the future by Nasa’s international partners. Lindgren and Hines along with international crew members will join an expedition crew aboard the space station for a long stay.
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Taiwan-born Lindgren is part of an Air Force family and this mission will be his second trip into space after a 141-day stay at the space station in 2015 for Expeditions 44 and 45. Before he became an astronaut, Lindgren was a flight surgeon supporting space station missions and space shuttle. He was named as one of the Artemis Team of astronauts in December 2020. This team is for the agency’s upcoming lunar missions.
Hines became an astronaut in 2017 and this will be his first trip into space. A lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force, Hines supported multiple military deployments in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. His flying included test pilot for the Federal Aviation Administration and research pilot at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center located in Houston
The mission, which is part of the Commercial Crew Program, is expected to launch in 2022 on a SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
The agency’s Commercial Crew Program is collaborating with the American aerospace industry to develop human space transportation services.