SpaceX’s first astronaut crew succeeded in moving the Crew Dragon spacecraft to a new port on the International Space Station on Monday. This is the first time a vehicle has tried to maneuver.
Called port transfers, this process required the spacecraft to retreat from the ISS port it had been in since it arrived at the orbiting laboratory in November, then fly it to another space-facing port and dock there instead. Russia’s Soyuz has performed 15 port maneuvers in the past, but none of the astronauts has ever done so on a commercial spacecraft.
The spaceship clears the way for SpaceX’s next Crew Dragon capsule to arrive at the International Space Station. The mission, called the Crew-2, is scheduled to launch on April 22, bringing four more astronauts to the space station.
Four astronauts on missions currently in orbit Crew-1 are set to return to Earth approximately five days after Crew-2’s arrival.During the overlap, two Crew Dragons will be attached to the International Space Station – And a house with 11 people in space
Currently, NASA is providing regular astronaut flights from both SpaceX and the Russian Soyuz launch system.The ISS is expected to be more crowded on a regular basis, Future Crew Dragons likely to have to switch ports as well, with Especially if Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner has joined the mix later this year, SpaceX and Boeing are developing their spacecraft through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a race to spur the development of commercial options. For Soyuz
“The space station has become the space port we want it to be, with vehicles flying and returning science and payloads and doing amazing things in orbit,” said Kathy Leuders, NASA Assistant Administrator for Exploration and Operations. Of the man said.
Watch Crew Dragon switch parking spots
In preparation for the port relocation, Crew-1 astronauts, including NASA’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi, were transformed into a space suit Monday morning. Space for docking and unlocking is required in case something goes wrong and the spacecraft’s cabin is compromised.
SpaceX also has a recovery ship stationed near a splash in the Atlantic, just in case Crew Dragon has to clear and jump back to Earth.
But everything seems to be going smoothly. The astronauts climb onto the Crew Dragon capsule, which they call “Resilience,” inspect air pressure leaks, then direct the spacecraft to initiate automated maneuvers. The resilient hook attached to the space station’s forward port retracted at 6:30 AM ET, removing the spacecraft from the International Space Station. The vehicle then fired the thrust to back away.
Over the next 30 minutes, as it spins around the Earth at about 5 miles per second, Resilience moves over the International Space Station and aligns itself with the station’s superlative port facing space. Docked there at 7:08 a.m. ET.
NASA relayed the maneuver in the video below. Unlocking starts around 30:45.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian colleagues Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. Relocated their own port on March 19, they moved the Soyuz spacecraft from the Earth-facing port of the Russian Module on the ISS to the space port. That made the former open for the next Soyuz spacecraft to receive. Three more astronauts added on April 9.
Unlike Crew Dragon, however, Soyuz will have to dodge it on his own.
After the Crew-1 returned to Earth, the Cargo Dragon spacecraft that had not yet installed a new solar panel for the International Space Station was set to replace it on the Super Docks.