SpaceX Crew Dragon and Crew-1 astronauts may see ISS mission duration extended

The Washington Post’s Christian Davenport reports that NASA is considering extending the mission duration of the Crew-1 astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi arrived at the station in mid-November. The four astronauts launched from Kennedy Space Center inside a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

The mission is SpaceX’s first operational mission for NASA’s Commercial Crew program. Under the contract, SpaceX is responsible for transporting astronauts to and from the space station on NASA’s behalf. Crew-1 followed the successful SpaceX Demo-2 mission to rate SpaceX hardware for human spaceflight.

During that mission last summer, NASA extended the stay of Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to assist Chris Cassidy in U.S. duties aboard the station. Behnken even conducted a space walk with Cassidy during the extended stay on ISS.

Regardless of any schedule change, Crew-1 astronauts were intended to stay on ISS for a full duration Expedition mission lasting several months.

The Crew Dragon capsule is designed to stay docked to the ISS for as long as 210 days at most. As Davenport highlights in a second tweet, extending the Crew-1 mission duration becomes a bigger test for the SpaceX spacecraft. Even with an extended mission, the Crew Dragon vehicle used for the Demo-2 mission over the summer spent just over 60 days attached to ISS.

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