After a day of traveling in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, the Crew 2 astronauts docked with the International Space Station to begin their 6 months stay on the orbiting laboratory. This marked the first time two Crew Dragons were at the station at one time.
Early Friday morning four astronauts from NASA, JAXA, and the ESA lifted off from LC-39A for the third crewed launch from the U.S. in the last year. After the 9 year gap without any crewed flight from the United States, human spaceflight is back and a regular thing on the Space Coast once again.
Getting to the ISS takes time to match up your orbit with the station’s. This can be done in as little as just a few hours, which the Soyuz sometimes can as a benefit its small size, or it can take several days. Either way, SpaceX had an instantaneous launch time to get the right timing to reach the ISS, and SpaceX was able to get it done.
This is the second time Dragon Endeavour has docked with the ISS. This reused crew Dragon capsule first launched Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to certify the Dragon and Falcon 9 for crewed flights last summer. This morning it returned with the second operational crew to join Expedition 65.
Full ISS for a short time
The Dragon docked with the ISS at 5:08 AM without any trouble with its automated docking system. Shane Kimbrough (NASA), Meghan McArthur (NASA), Thomas Pesquet (ESA), and Akihiko Hoshide (JAXA) joined the 7 astronauts already on the station and brought the total number of crew members to 11.
The ISS crew won’t have to worry about finding a place to sleep for long. Since the members of SpaceX’s Crew 1 will depart the station next Wednesday when NASA astronaut Shannon Walker will hand over command of the ISS to Hoshide before she joins Micheal Hopkins (NASA), Victor Glover (NASA), and Soichi Noguchi (JAXA) to depart back for home.
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