Crew Dragon spacecraft will be modified to receive extra crew if necessary

Crew Dragon spacecraft will be modified to receive extra crew if necessary

A Crew Dragon capsule, from SpaceX, has been undergoing some changes to take one more crew member on board, in addition to the four with seats already reserved, if necessary. The change is part of the “rescue” plans of some of the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) after the failure in the circuit of the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft, coupled to the orbital laboratory.

  • These are the spacecraft that have been taking humans into space for six decades.
  • Russia to launch ship to rescue astronauts on ISS in February

Due to component failure, the MS-22 cannot be used to return astronauts to Earth — unless something exceptional occurs, such as an emergency. Thus, NASA planned to change this Wednesday (18) the seat of the American Frank Rubio, who would be on board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, to the Crew Dragon “Endurance”, which took the astronauts of the Crew-5 mission to the ISS.

The spacecraft was launched to the orbital laboratory last year with four seats installed, one for each astronaut on the mission. But, as Dragon capsules are designed to carry up to seven crew members on board, she has enough space to accommodate Rubio, if necessary.

The MS-22 will only be used as a “lifeboat” if there is any unforeseen event before the arrival of the Soyuz MS-23, which will only arrive at the ISS in February. This is where the change of seats comes in: due to the condition of the ship, it is safer for it to carry only two astronauts, instead of three. It may not seem like it, but this small change will better protect the crew by reducing the thermal load inside the MS-22.

With the changes, Rubio and cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin are expected to stay in orbit longer than originally planned. “The plan is for Frank, Dimitri and Sergey to stay in orbit for at least a few more months until they return home, probably at the end of September,” noted Dina Cotella, ISS operations integration manager at NASA.

Source: NASA