After successfully launching NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is being tested while docked at the station.
So far, it is exceeding expectations: “The vehicle is working extremely well,” Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday, as reported by Space.com.
In fact, the spacecraft’s solar panels are working “a little better than expected,” according to Stich, which means it could technically stay docked for 114 more days, beyond its expected return date with Behnken and Hurley on board. August 2nd.
NASA also plans to include two additional ISS crew members in the module, along with the two Crew Dragon pilots, as part of a habitability test to see what the experience will be like during future missions.
Behnken is teaming up with ISS Expedition 63 commander Chris Cassidy for a spacewalk on Friday to update the space station’s outdated batteries.
The agency still plans to conduct additional tests before returning Behnken and Hurley to Earth, including a check on the air conditioning system, according to Space.com.
While the launch and docking procedures went smoothly, capsule reentry remains an important test. Only once both astronauts are safely on the surface will SpaceX and NASA consider their Demo-2 mission successful.
READ MORE: The first SpaceX Crew Dragon for testing astronaut aces in space, could land on August 2[[[[Space.com]
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