Last November, three Nasa JAXA astronauts and an astronaut traveled to the International Space Station via SpaceX’s Crew Dragon astronaut taxi, in a capsule named “Resilience”. This is SpaceX’s first fully operational mission under its contract with NASA.
A The Verge report, said Kathy Lueders, chief of human spaceflight at NASA, that so far, “in her first long operational stay on the International Space Station”. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon astronaut taxi is doing “wonderfully”.
The edge noted that “the only unexpected problem the crew faced” was “a trivial housekeeping task,” according to Lueders.
The edge quoted Lueders, who said in an interview: “We are very, very happy with the way things are going.” Lueders added: “The only minor thing we had was that we get a few small pieces of plush on the seal,” where Crew Dragon connects to the ISS. The accumulation of lint and dust is caused by months of astronauts floating in and out of the spacecraft, the report Explain.
After passing his final test step last summer, with the launch and to recover of two American astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, SpaceX launched the Crew-1 mission November 15. It carried Commander Mike Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover, and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi.
How was the “dust” problem dealt with?
But for a longer term solution, the report noted that “a small blanket was trucked to the station on the NG-15 cargo resupply mission,” which Northrop Grumman launched on Saturday.
Considering that the “$ 100 billion orbital laboratory” has “housed astronauts in low Earth orbit” for over 20 years, a little extra “dust is certainly not the worst problem NASA and SpaceX could face. “, the report Explain.
This is the longest duration for an American spacecraft evaluated by man.
The edge noted that because the 98 days that Crew Dragon was docked with the ISS is “the longest duration for an American spacecraft rated by humans.” At present, the capsule serves as sleeping quarters for Commander Mike Hopkins, the report noted.
There is a rigorous refurbishment and certification process for SpaceX.
April 20 is the date set for SpaceX’s next mission, Crew-2, The edge reported. This mission will reuse the capsule that stole Behnken and Hurley for the DM-2 mission. The decision to allow SpaceX to reuse its capsules for astronaut flights was taken last year by NASA, “paving the way for a rigorous refurbishment and certification process for SpaceX,” the report noted.
SpaceX has already added infrastructure for the Crew Dragon renovation, which will take place in Florida, The edge noted.
NASA wants to have a back-up plan.
The edge said NASA wants a backup plan – despite Crew Dragon Resilience doing well on the ISS, and Crew-2’s next launch is slated for April.
The station’s three other crew members – two Russian cosmonauts and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, “are due to return to Earth in April on the same Soyuz capsule they drove in last year.” report noted.
However, if the Crew-2 spacecraft encountered any problems prior to its April flight, “Nasa will need another option to bring an astronaut to the ISS “, otherwise” they risk leaving the station without NASA crew members for the first time since the station was first occupied in 2000 “, the report noted.
The agency announced earlier this month that as a safety net it was seeking another seat on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. A previous The Verge report stated that “NASA was in talks with space infrastructure startup Axiom Space to reserve that Soyuz seat, instead of buying directly from the Russians – only the second time in the decades-long NASA-Russia relationship. “