SpaceX Launches First Mission to Bring Black Woman to the International Space Station | Science

The Crew-4 mission took off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:52 am local time (4:52 am GMT), with Americans Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins, as well as Italian Samantha Cristoforetti, of the European Space Agency, on board.

Take off! The last few days at the Kennedy Space Center have been inspiring and busy with the return of the Axiom crew and now the successful launch of the Crew-4 astronauts to the International Space Station. Aboard the station, Kjell, Bob, Jessica and Samantha will carry out investigations that will help NASA prepare for long-term stays on the Moon — and eventually on Mars,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

Crew-4 is expected to carry out hundreds of scientific experiments, including ongoing research into growing soilless plants in space. Another experiment will be to develop an artificial human retina, taking advantage of the ISS’s microgravity environment to help form thin protein films, layer after layer.

This technology “could eventually be used to replace damaged photoreceptor cells in the eyes and potentially restore meaningful vision for millions of people suffering from retinal degenerative diseases,” said NASA scientist Heidi Parris.

Astronauts will spend the day flying freely through orbit and are expected to dock with the ISS at around 9pm ET.

Crew-4 astronauts, left to right: Jessica Watson, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren and Samantha Cristoforetti — Photo: SpaceX

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