The crew of Crew-4 is currently preparing for its trip to the International Space Station which is scheduled to take place next month. For this mission, the 4 astronauts will fly on a brand new SpaceX Crew Dragon ship. And as has been the case with all of the company’s passenger-carrying vessels, this newcomer has also just received its official name.
Thus, the spacecraft that will transport the crew of Crew-4 will be called “Freedom”. This was announced on Twitter by NASA astronaut and mission commander Kjell Lindgren. The latter will lead the crew made up of himself, two other NASA astronauts, and an ESA astronaut.
Freedom is SpaceX’s fourth manned ship after Endeavor, Resilience and Endurance.
The meaning of the name “Freedom”
According to Lindgren, “this name celebrates a fundamental human right, as well as the industry and innovation that emanates from the unfettered human spirit”.
He also indicated that this name was a tribute to the Mercury-Redstone 3 rocket, also known as Freedom 7. This is the rocket that carried the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard, into space in 1961.
Apart from the historical reason behind the choice of this name, “Freedom”, which translates as “Freedom”, also has a special meaning if we consider the current geopolitical crisis in Ukraine. The attack on Ukraine led the international space community to turn away from Russia and cancel launches that were to be carried out using Russian rockets.
No longer dependent on Russia
Since the retirement of NASA’s space shuttles in 2011, the United States had to use Russian Soyuz rockets to send its astronauts to the ISS. But with the arrival of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, we can say that things have changed.
In his tweet, Lindgren indicated that thanks to the Commercial Crew Program, NASA and SpaceX were able to restore a national capability. The name of the new ship thus serves, according to him, to honor the ingenuity and the work carried out by all those involved.
Given the current situation, we are entitled to think that from now on, NASA astronauts will only travel on American ships when they join the ISS.