SpaceX Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, completed the first-ever Crew Dragon port relocation at the International Space Station (ISS). This morning, the crew hopped aboard the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft to relocate it in order to clear path for the arrival of the next astronaut crew (Crew-2). They wore their custom-made SpaceX spacesuits that provide a pressurized environment to protect them from a potential depressurization event of the spacecraft.
LIVE: The @SpaceX Crew Dragon, with four astronauts aboard, relocates from the Harmony module's forward-facing port to its space-facing port. It's the first-ever port relocation for a @Commercial_Crew spacecraft on @Space_Station: https://t.co/mBndRURmNI https://t.co/mBndRURmNI— NASA (@NASA) April 5, 2021
During the 45-minute relocation process, the crew supervised as Resilience undocked from the forward-port (International Docking Adapter-2 IDA-2) / Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 PMA-2) of the space station's Harmony module at 6:30 a.m. EDT. The spacecraft operates autonomously, it backed away from the Space Station 60-meters before its Draco thrusters performed an automated 90-degree maneuver to connect with the Harmony module’s space-facing port (PMA-3/IDA-3) at around 7:15 a.m. EDT. NASA said it was vital for all of Crew-1 crewmembers to be aboard Crew Dragon Resilience in case the spacecraft would fail to dock, it would enable the crew to return to Earth. Thankfully, this morning’s relocation operation was a success.
Dragon has re-docked with the @Space_Station, completing its first-ever port relocation flight and making way for arrival of the Crew-2 Dragon in a few weeks, as well as the CRS-22 Dragon this summer https://t.co/au9pr9Wf3z— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 5, 2021
The Space Station’s forward-port is now free for Crew-2 astronauts arrival on April 22/23. Two Crew Dragons will be docked simultaneously for around a week this month. Crew-1 astronauts are scheduled to depart the orbiting laboratory until April 28. It was necessary to relocate Resilience because once Crew-1 returns to Earth, the space-facing port will be available to welcome a cargo Dragon spacecraft filled with equipment in the capsule’s trunk that requires the use of the Space Station’s robotic arm (Canadarm2) to extract. The capsule will carry “several tons of supplies and the first set of new solar arrays for the space station is scheduled to launch this summer, and requires the space-facing port position to enable robotic extraction of the arrays from Dragon’s trunk using Canadarm2,” the agency shared.The robotic arm is accessible to Dragon’s trunk at the space-facing port, not the forward-port, as shown in the graphic below. SpaceX’s next cargo mission is scheduled for June, it will be the 22nd under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Service program (CRS-22).
This excellent image from @RaffaeleDiPalma shows why Crew-1 Dragon needs to be relocated from the forward port of Harmony to the top port - so that Crew-2 Dragon can dock to the forward port, which will leave the top port clear when Crew-1 departs. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/DSjs3Mmz4i— Pete 🚀 🛰 (@Space_Pete) March 29, 2021
Featured Image Source: NASA TV
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.