SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience successfully completed its docking on the International Space Station. The capsule spent over 27 hours in orbit, after it successfully launched last Saturday at 7:27 p.m. EDT.
Details Behind The Docking of Resilience
Just like Crew Dragon Endeavour that was used for Demo-2, Resilience has an automatic docking system. It uses sensors and cameras that help the capsule get close to the ISS docking station.
Docking was initially scheduled to take place precisely at 11 p.m. EDT. However, shadows obscured the crew’s view of the space.
The personnel ultimately decided to make a short hold 20 meters away from the docking adapter. Resilience made contact with the ISS and performed a soft capture at 11:01 EDT. The capsule then completed the docking procedure approximately 14 minutes later on the ISS’ Harmony module.
Docking, or berthing connection, is referred to as both “soft” and “hard” docking. A spacecraft first initiates a soft dock, by making contact and latching its docking connector with the designated target. In Resilience’s case, the target was the Harmony module. Once the soft connection is secured, the spacecraft proceeds with the hard dock. This is where all airtights are sealed. This enables interior hatches to be safely opened so that crew and cargo can be transferred.
Hatches opened today at around 1:10 a.m. EDT.
What are the Main Tasks of Crew-1 Personnel?
Expedition 64 is the 64th and current long-duration expedition to the International Space Station. It was initiated last October and is scheduled to end on April 18, 2021.
The expedition will include research investigations focused on biology, Earth science, physical and technology development. More specifically, crew members will grow radishes in a study to better understand plant growth and nutrition in microgravity. Additionally, they will conduct research into the effect of microgravity on the heart.
Microgravity significantly affects heart tissues, causing molecular and structural abnormalities that lead to heart-related diseases. This can cause a risk on future long-duration space missions.
Expedition 64 will research how to establish ways to anticipate cardiovascular risks prior to spaceflight.
New SpaceX Milestone
However, the arrival of Resilience to the ISS marks the first time that a commercial spacecraft has brought astronauts for a long-duration stay.
All in all, this clearly indicates that SpaceX is miles ahead of its competition regarding commercial spaceflights.