With its most recent crewed deployment to the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceX has set another new record.
The Crew-4 capsule, which was launched to the International Space Station on Wednesday, April 27, was the fastest Crew Dragon astronaut journey to the orbital space station.
"This is the fastest docking experience we''ve ever done," Steve Stitch, the NASA Commercial Crew Program manager, told reporters during a briefing after the launch on Wednesday. "It''s about the same time it takes to go from New York to Singapore, therefore it''s kind of interesting."
SpaceX''''s fastest crewed ISS flight
The four Crew-4 astronauts arrived on the ISS in less than 16 hours, making it the most shortest flight time of all SpaceX''s six crewed flights to the space station, including Crew-1 to 4, the all-civil Ax-1, and SpaceX''s first human spaceflight, Demo-2.
At 3:52 a.m. EDT, the crew-4 launched on a brand new Crew Dragon capsule called Freedom atop a Falcon 9 rocket. After a total flight time of 15 hours and 45 minutes, the astronauts landed at the space station at 7:37 p.m. EDT (2337 GMT).
SpaceX''s Demo-2 mission, which was launched in May 2020, took about 19 hours, while Crew-3 took about an entire day to arrive.
Will ISS trips continue to get shorter?
While SpaceX is constantly improving its launches and machinery, such as its new Raptor V2, the new ISS journey time record was more down to chance than anything.
According to Jessica Jensen,SpaceX''s vice president of customer operations and integration, who walked away during the press briefing, a delay would have impacted the flight time, resulting in a reduction or a long term term.
"I''d say it''s sort of a bit of luck as to how we would up in this," Jensen said. "You can vary by 10 to 20 hours of phasing just you know in a day or two. It''s not really that we changed anything, it''s just the orbital mechanics of where the ISS is and where it''s coming over Florida."
Three NASA astronauts and one European Space Agency astronaut were sent to the ISS for a six-month stay. Although SpaceX was its first airplane to the ISS, Russia''s Roscosmos set the record for its all-time fastest crewed trip in October 2020. According to reports, Russia is putting an end to a decades-long period of scientific collaboration.