Astronauts make unprecedented relocation of a SpaceX spacecraft on the Space Station

On Monday (5), four astronauts performed an automated spacecraft relocation operation on the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time by decoupling the SpaceX Crew Dragon and changing the docking port used by the spacecraft.

Astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, who took off from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, to the ISS on the Crew-1 mission in November, undoed Resilience – as the ship is called – from the forward port on the Harmony module and re-coupled it into the space-facing door.

In an interview with the website Spaceflight NowHopkins recalled that the Russian Soyuz spacecraft has already changed its docking port on the International Space Station 19 times, the most recent of which was on March 19.

“But there is a big difference between how Soyuz and we do that,” said Hopkins. “Soyuz does everything manually. Our plan is to do everything in an automated way – however, we have the ability to take over and do it manually if necessary. ”

Astronauts performed a maneuver to change the door where the SpaceX spacecraft docked at the International Space Station
Photo: Playback / NASA / YouTube

The purpose of the move was to make room for the next team of astronauts to fly to the ISS on the SpaceX Crew-2 mission, which is scheduled to launch at 6:11 am on April 22.

NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and NASA’s Megan McArthur, Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide, and European astronaut Thomas Pesquet will be part of this new mission. Crew-2, whose ship was dubbed Endeavor, will dock at the newly released front door of the ISS.

Crew-1 astronauts will depart the station and return to Earth in late April or early May. A cargo spacecraft carrying several tons of supplies and the first set of new solar panels for the space station is scheduled to be launched later this semester.

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