SpaceX’s Crew-1 manned space capsule reached another milestone during the holidays and was successfullyThe space station faces the PMA 2 pair of ports in front, and shifts the PMA 3 pair of ports toward the space side (above). This is the first time that a commercial spacecraft has performed an interface transfer on a space station. Although the entire process is fully automatic, the crew of the Crew-1 mission still wears a full set of space suits to stay in the Crew Dragon space capsule, just in case it gets out. In case of any accident, you can return directly to the space capsule. Fortunately, the whole process went well, and transfers like this should become quite common in the future.
The reason for giving up the front facing port is to prepare for the Crew-2 mission scheduled to be launched on April 22, US time. A space capsule set off from the earth will approach the space station from below, so compared to the docking port on the top, the one located in the front will be more “smooth” and reduce the risk. The crew of Crew-1 is scheduled to return to Earth on April 28 after the handover period of about 5 days, but this of course depends on the condition of the Crew-1 Crew Dragon spacecraft and the weather conditions in the landing area.
After that, another cargo-carrying Cargo Dragon capsule is scheduled to go to the space station in early June. This time it is expected to use the PMA 3 pair facing space to facilitate the robotic arm to take out the new solar panels from the cargo compartment. Therefore, in the next two months, there will be a total of three SpaceX Dragon spacecraft docking with the space station, and there will be at least two overlapping periods of time. Two Dragon spacecraft will be connected to the space station at the same time.
NASA also announced that Crew-3 will be scheduled to take off as early as October 23, and that Crew-2 will return at the end of October. On the other hand, the Boeing Starliner unmanned test mission OFT-2, which was originally scheduled to “retake” on March 29, has been delayed again and again, first to April 2, then mid-April, and now it is 7. Months. If Boeing doesn’t work harder, maybe SpaceX’s third manned mission will fly ahead of OFT-2.