SpaceX made history earlier this year by sending NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS) on the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon 2 manned Dragon spacecraft,media reported. The two astronauts’ flight is part of NASA’s DM-2 demonstration mission, which aims to test and certify the spacecraft’s ability to resume iss of human transport after the End of the U.S. space shuttle program in 2011.
Now, astronauts on board the manned Dragon spacecraft are helping Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy replace the station’s aging batteries, while SpaceX and NASA are busy preparing for Dragon 2’s first commercial manned mission.
Similar to the Dragon 2 DM-2 mission, the Falcon 9 booster will also be on the Crew-1 space station mission later this year once Dragon 2 is fully evaluated by NASA on its eligibility to send astronauts to the Orbiting Space Lab. The booster is understood to have arrived in Florida on Tuesday. ISS confirmed today that the booster will meet with the Crew-1 Dragon spacecraft when it completes testing in Hawthorne, California.
As part of the Dragon 2 DM-2 test update currently underway in near-Earth orbit (LEO), NASA has revealed that it and SpaceX are preparing for their first commercial launch mission. NASA officials also said at a news conference that the Dragon 2, which is currently being tested, will take at least six weeks between the crew-1 manned mission from the United States to LEO.
In nasa’s briefing, the Crew-1 mission is currently conducting propulsion system and valve leak checks, which will go into acoustic testing when those checks are completed. After testing, the Crew-1 Dragon 2 will be shipped to NASA’s facility in Florida, where it will rendezvous with the Falcon 9 booster, which arrived earlier this week.
The Falcon 9 will be pre-launched at U.S. Air Force Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. While the timing of dragon 2’s arrival from Hawthorne is unclear, SpaceX and NASA still have plenty of time to successfully complete the Crew-1 mission, given that the Dragon 2, which is currently docked with ISS, has not yet returned.
Unlike the DM-2 Dragon 2, which can only dock with the Harmony module of the ISS, the Crew-1 Dragon 2 will also be able to dock with other modules on the space station. The spacecraft will carry not only American astronauts, but also international astronauts to the International Space Station. As part of the Crew-1 mission, Dragon 2 will send astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi to the space station.
Similar to the DM-2 mission, the Crew-1 mission will also be launched from launch site 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.