Each new SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule has a name, like American space shuttles. The capsule of the Crew-4 mission has found one, it will be “Freedom”.
Since the days of the space shuttles, it has been customary to name reusable space vehicles. We were familiar with Columbia , Challenger , Discovery , Atlantis and Endeavour. But now the time of the shuttles is over for more than ten years, and in the United States it is now Crew Dragon which has replaced them to take a crew into orbit .
The first manned orbital flight took place in 2020 for the Demo-2 mission with Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken on board , two astronauts who had both flown on the space shuttle Endeavor in the past.
It is therefore this name that they have chosen symbolically to name the first operational Crew Dragon capsule. Crew Dragon Endeavor flew a total of twice, and took Thomas Pesquet to the International Space Station (ISS) and is due to fly again this year.
Thereafter, the crews succeeded one another towards the ISS, and with each new capsule still unused, a new nickname. The SpaceX fleet was then supplemented with capsules named Resilience, then Endurance, the latter having launched the crew of Crew-3 with Mathias Maurer, ESA astronaut on board.
Crew-4 is scheduled to leave for the ISS in mid-April with ESA’s Samantha Cristoforetti on board for its second flight to the Station. The capsule is new, and the crew has already decided on a name. It will be Freedom.
Alongside the Italian astronaut will be NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, the commander for his second flight, and Robert Hines and Jessica Watkins, who will both discover space travel for the first time.