In the wee hours of the night, SpaceX’s Crew-6 and Endeavour Crew Dragon completed its rendezvous with the International Space Station. After following the slow and safe process, Endeavour docked with the ISS and the crew is now onboard.
The space station is now at a full capacity of 11 astronauts from NASA, Roscosmos, Japan, and the UAE. While there was a short delay in docking due to an issue with one of the locking hooks, docking was completed at 1:40 a.m. ET just over 24 hours after launching.
Crew-6 will begin its six-month stay in space
The astronauts onboard Crew-6 will now begin their six-month stay on the orbital research laboratory. This is the first long-duration flight for all four astronauts and the first for the entire nation of the United Arab Emirates. Commander Stephen Bowen visited the station three times before during its construction but never stayed longer than a couple of weeks.
While on board the station, the crew will be known as flight engineers with Bowen planning to take command of the station later in his stay. The crew mentioned during pre-flight briefings that a lot of their research will be focused on the human body, of course using themselves as the test subjects.
Right now the crew is part of Expedition 68 but that will come to an end once Crew-5 departs with Expedition 69 beginning. Expedition 69 will have a busy rotation of visiting missions to the station and feature another year-long stay in space by the crew of MS-22/MS-23. The ISS is expected to have two cargo spacecraft arrive, one from Northrop Grumman and one from SpaceX, and potentially two more crewed flights, Boeing-Starliner CFT and Axiom-2.
Crew-5 returns within the week
The current SpaceX crew onboard the space station is gearing up to return now that their replacements are here. Usually, this takes place within a week but is subject to weather conditions here on Earth. Right now, they are getting Crew-6 up to speed about life on the station before they pack up.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon splashdown in the ocean with recovery crews on boats to get the crew out of the water and back on land. We should learn more about the landing site, usually around Florida, and the date in the coming days.