Acting as spacecraft commander will be Kjell Lindgren, a former member of ISS expeditions 44 and 45. His pilot will be Bob Hines, an Air Force airman who will be taking his first trip to space. NASA says the rest of the crew members will be announced by partner nations in due time. Crew-4, too, is scheduled for what NASA calls a long-duration stay in orbit around our planet.
Crew-4 is loosely scheduled for a 2022 departure, leaving the Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at the top of a Falcon 9 rocket.
Separately, NASA is gearing up for a crucial moment in its history this week. On Thursday, February 18, the Perseverance rover will reach Mars and land there to be part of the most important mission to the Red Planet ever conducted.
The machine, the size of an average car, is packed with instruments that will allow it to conduct a wide range of experiments. Those will include never-before-attempted ones like trying to generate oxygen, or flying a tiny helicopter in the planet’s alien atmosphere, and later collecting samples that the future mission will have to bring back to Earth.