Watch SpaceX Crew-4 mission depart space station today (Oct. 12) (Image Credit: Space.com)
SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission will leave the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday evening (Oct. 12), and you can watch the action live.
Crew-4’s Dragon capsule, named Freedom, is scheduled to undock from the orbiting lab Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. EDT (2305 GMT), NASA officials said in an emailed statement on Tuesday evening (Oct. 11). You can watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA, or directly via the space agency (opens in new tab).
You can also catch a variety of other departure-related events on Wednesday and Thursday (Oct. 12), as we outline below.
The action begins relatively early on Wednesday. At 10:05 a.m. EDT (1405 GMT), the four Crew-4 astronauts will give some farewell remarks. And one of them — European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, the current ISS commander — will hand the reins of the orbiting lab over to Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev during a change-of-command ceremony around that same time.
Then, at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), coverage will begin for the closing of the hatches between Freedom and the ISS, which is expected to occur at 5:20 p.m. EDT (2120 GMT).
Undocking coverage will start at 6:45 p.m. EDT (2245 GMT) — again, about 20 minutes before the event.
Freedom is expected to splash down off the Florida coast on Thursday at 5:41 p.m. EDT (2141 GMT). NASA and SpaceX plan to hold a post-splashdown press conference that day at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT).
That briefing will feature Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program; Joel Montalbano, NASA’s International Space Station program manager; and a SpaceX representative.
None of these times are set in stone, however; they’re dependent on good expected weather in Freedom’s potential splashdown zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
“Mission teams will continue to monitor splashdown and recovery conditions with another weather review at six hours prior to undocking,” NASA officials said in Tuesday’s emailed statement. “Additional undocking opportunities also are available Thursday, Oct. 13.”
Crew-4 launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on April 27 and arrived at the ISS that same day. The mission consists of Cristoforetti and NASA astronauts Robert Hines, Kjell Lindgren and Jessica Watkins.
As its name suggests, Crew-4 is the fourth contracted astronaut mission that SpaceX has flown to the orbiting lab for NASA. It’s one of two SpaceX flights currently at the ISS; Crew-5 arrived on Oct. 6 for a five-month stay.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).