The Crew Dragon of SpaceX, the company founded by Elon Musk, will change ports on the International Space Station (ISS). The coverage of the change is scheduled to begin around 6 am EDT, that is, at 12 peninsular time Spanish and the 5 am in Mexico City. Although it will still take a few minutes to start the maneuver. But why does SpaceX have to make this change to the ISS?
This is a preparatory flight, as another Crew Dragon launch with astronauts is expected later this month. This Monday NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi embark on another kind of mission.
NASA astronauts will undock and redock their spacecraft in just 46 minutes
This test flight will consist of a short flight around the space station. The crew will undock the ship around 6:29 a.m. (12:29 peninsular time; 5:29 Mexico City time) and will dock it again a few minutes later. The idea is to switch from one ISS port to another. In fact, they will only be in space for about 46 minutes, but it will be a much-needed mission for both NASA and SpaceX. As the inlet port must be relocated of the company, since it will be necessary for the new astronauts who will arrive in a few weeks to the ISS.
SpaceX will relocate to the space station
Although it is a short flight, there is a lot of logistics behind it. NASA faces a small problem that it has to solve as soon as possible. And it is that it only has two docking ports for the ships that go to the ISS. That is, both for SpaceX and for future Boeing. But, in addition, it must be borne in mind that you also have to bring supplies to the space station.
Because, SpaceX will have to relocate to a new port this Monday. This will leave everything ready for the flight in late April and the next delivery of new solar panels this summer, as reported by NASA in a press release.
For the future, logistics will have to be further refined. Since you have to take into account two things. The first: the ships that take astronauts to the ISS are the same ones that bring them back to Earth. That is, for six months, the spacecraft remains docked with the International Space Station. And the second is that NASA intends for the new crews and the departing crews to spend at least a week together before the latter return to Earth. Unfortunately, that prevents the arrival of supplies, if they coincide in time. It will not be a problem if everything is calculated to the millimeter, of course.
Follow the port change live
The change of port can be followed live from the NASA channel or through this video. The broadcast will begin at about 6 am EDT, that is, at 12 peninsular time Spanish and the 5 am in Mexico City. Although it will take 29 minutes to start the port change. If everything goes according to plan about 7:15 am EDT the ship will dock at the new port and the mission will have been a complete success.
SpaceX has planned two launches in the next two or three months, with them there will be four missions in seven months. But, in addition, there are three other Dragon missions planned throughout 2021. With this, SpaceX will reach a new record: 7 Dragon Crew launches in about 11 or 12 months. In fact, in both 2018 and 2019 they were only able to dispatch five of their missions in 12 months.
This can only mean one thing: SpaceX is getting more and more slices of the launch cake for the International Space Station while Boeing is still trying to fix the problems that arose in the December 2019 test flight. At the moment, Boeing’s Starlines will not take to the skies again (unmanned) until the second half of this year, but not even that. assures you that everything will be a success.
Definitely, SpaceX and NASA have a more than established relationship, which may imply that, faced with new more complex missions – such as sending astronauts to the Moon or Mars – they may prefer to have the technology of Elon Musk’s company first.