SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour moved to a new spot on the International Space Station to make room for Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, which is set to launch later this month.
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The SpaceX spacecraft was successfully relocated Wednesday morning ahead of the upcoming Starliner launch.
Contact and soft capture confirmed at 7:35am ET. With four Crew-2 astronauts aboard, the @SpaceX Crew Dragon docked to the @Space_Station Harmony module's space-facing port, moving from the forward port to free up a spot for the next @Commercial_Crew spacecraft to arrive. pic.twitter.com/Jej8VHdJ4o— NASA (@NASA) July 21, 2021
Endeavour has been docked with the ISS since April 24, after it carried four Crew-2 astronauts to the space station for a six-month stay.
Boeing’s Starliner was designed and built under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
Just days ago, the Starliner spacecraft was transported from the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility Kennedy Space Center to the United Launch Alliance’s Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station ahead of its test flight to the ISS, according to Boeing. It has since been secured to the ULA’s Atlas V rocket.
“Seeing the Starliner atop the Atlas V just days away from launch is symbolic of how proud our team feels about executing this mission,” John Vollmer, vice president and program manager of the Boeing Commercial Crew Program, said in a release. “OFT-2 is a critical milestone on our path to crewed flights, and we’re all ready to see our hard work come to life with a successful mission from beginning to end.”
The company and NASA recently used software to run a simulation of the orbital test flight-2, known as OFT-2, over a period of five days. The result was a successful docking at the ISS and bull’s-eye landing in New Mexico.
The actual mission will test the spacecraft’s abilities to “autonomously dock with the space station and deliver approximately 440 pounds, or roughly 200 kilograms, of cargo and crew supplies for NASA,” according to a release. It will then spend five to 10 days in orbit before undocking and coming back to Earth where it will land in the western U.S.
Boeing first conducted the orbital flight test in December 2019 but after launching on the ULA Atlas V rocket, the spacecraft was forced to return to Earth instead of docking at the ISS.
The targeted launch date is July 30 at 2:53 p.m.
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