A Falcon 9 rocket carrying SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts launched for the ISS from Cape Canaveral in Florida early on the morning of April 27.
NASA said the international crew of astronauts will serve as the fourth commercial crew rotation mission aboard the space station.
The crew will carry out over 200 experiments in areas such as materials science, health technologies, and plant science to “prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth,” according to SpaceX.
NASA livestreamed this video showing the liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center at around 3:52 am, and the successful capsule separation. Credit: NASA via Storyful
- 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero, ignition and liftoff. [INAUDIBLE] Falcon [INAUDIBLE]. Godspeed, Crew-4.
- B four switching down range. Copy, one alpha.
- Freedom soars and the dragon flies forth. Vehicle already pitching down range. All nine Merlin engines have lit.
- Stage one propulsion is nominal.
- Getting good performance on stage one propulsion already. We are T plus 35 seconds into the fourth rotational crew mission onboard Dragon and the Falcon 9. The nine Merlin 1D engines on the first stage are beginning to throttle down--
- Stage one, throttle down.
- --in preparation for max q. This is where the vehicle will experience the highest amount of aerodynamic pressures. So we'll throttle down the engines in preparation for that event.
- Vehicle is supersonic.
- All right, so we've passed the speed of sound. We're already--
- Max q.
- --standing by. And there's our call out for max q.
- Stage one, throttle up.
- So right after max q, we will begin to throttle those engines up again.
- Copy, one bravo.
- One bravo, so we're in the second and final abort mode for the first stage. Continuing to get good performance though. The crew are already pulling an excess of two Gs and coming up next, it's going to be a couple of events in rapid succession.
Yup, in about 10 seconds here we're going to be performing engine two on the second stage and back engine. And then in about a minute we're going to start off with MECO, also known as main engine cutoff. This is where those nine engines that you're seeing ignite on-- are being lit up on screen. Those are going to cut off in preparation for stage separation where the first and second stages will separate from one another.
And then the single Merlin vacuum engine on the second stage will ignite and continue to carry our Crew-4 astronauts to orbit. And we heard that M vac shell has started.
- Stage one, throttle down.
- The nine Merlin engines starting to throttle down and standing by for MECO.
- And MECO.
- Stage separation confirmed.
- So MECO. Stage separation's confirmed.
- And ignition.
- You see that second stage engine light. We're in two alpha, the second abort mode. The second stage is lit, continuing to carry the Crew-4 astronauts onto orbit.