On April 5, four astronauts will perform the US’s first commercial crew port relocation on the International Space Station to make room for a new crew later in the month. The task will involve undocking the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft from its current port and re-docking it at a different port next week.
The Crew Dragon port relocation will be performed by three NASA astronauts — Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Michael Hopkins — alongside JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi. According to NASA, the event will involve undocking the spacecraft from the ISS Harmony module at 6:29AM EST and docking it at a space-facing port at 7:15 AM EST.
There’s a good reason for moving the Crew Dragon Resilience — it will free up the port so that Crew Dragon Endeavor can dock at it as part of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Four astronauts — two from NASA, one from JAXA, and one from the ESA — will launch to the space station on April 22.
Days after the Crew-2 mission’s arrival, NASA says the astronauts who launched as part of the Crew-1 mission will return to Earth, freeing up the Harmony dock. The vacancy will then be able to accommodate the Dragon cargo spacecraft with its supplies and solar arrays when it launches later this summer.
Once the event takes place, NASA says it will mark the first time a port relocation has taken place that involves one of SpaceX’s commercial Crew Dragon spacecraft. The mission took place under the Commercial Crew Program, which will see a total of six SpaceX Crew missions.