Anyone who’s ever lived in a street-sweeping fine zone knows all about having to repark a car. Astronauts on the International Space Station don’t have to worry about a parking ticket, but they will need to move their vehicle from one port to another on the ISS on April 5.
Last November, the Crew-1 astronauts took ato arrive at the ISS last. With another Crew Dragon arrival and a delivery of new solar panels scheduled for later this year, the ISS needs to free up the Crew-1 spacecraft’s current docking port on the station’s Harmony module.
The reparking “will mark another first for commercial spaceflight,” NASA said in a statement in late March. NASA TV plans to livestream the relocation effort starting at 3 a.m. PT on Monday.
Crew-1’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker (all NASA astronauts) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi will wear their flight suits to move Crew Dragon Resilience. The process will take about 45 minutes.
“The quartet needs to be on the vehicle in the unlikely event Resilience is unable to redock,” said NASA on Wednesday. “This assures there aren’t more crewmembers on the station than seats available on docked crew ships.”
On Thursday, Hopkins tweeted a look at Crew-1 trying on their SpaceX-designed spacesuits. “We’ll take a short ride in Dragon to move from the Harmony forward port to the Harmony zenith port in order to make room for our new crewmates,” he wrote.
NASA is doing some ISS schedule juggling. The agency is planning to launch the Crew-2 mission in April using the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft, which will then use the forward port when it arrives. The Crew-1 astronauts will head back to Earth in late April or early May, leaving the other port open for a cargo shipment of solar arrays set for this summer.
Taking Crew Dragon Resilience out for a quick spin is a little something different in the usual astronaut schedule of science experiments and station maintenance. It should still be easier than finding an open parking space in LA on street-sweeping day.
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