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Four space station astronauts just took Crew Dragon ‘for a spin’

Four crewmembers at the International Space Station (ISS) enjoyed a short ride aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour on Saturday, moving the spacecraft to a different port to make way for a cargo ship arriving in June.

SpaceX Crew-6 members Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg of NASA, along with Sultan Alneyadi of the United Arab Emirates and Andrey Fedyaev of Russia, undocked from the Harmony module’s space-facing port at 7:23 a.m. before flying the short distance to the same module’s forward port.

The entire trip took a mere 38 minutes.

Commenting on the short mission, Hoburg said in a tweet that they’d had a “successful day” taking the SpaceX capsule “out for a spin” on Saturday.

Hoburg explained that the mission was necessary as the incoming cargo ship will be bringing with it a couple of rollout solar arrays. These will be extracted from the ship using the robotic Canadarm2 device, and the position of the freed port offers the best angle of approach for the arm.

The arrays will be installed during spacewalks in the summer as part of ongoing work to upgrade the space station’s power supply.

Successful day taking Endeavour out for a spin yesterday. We cleared off the Node 2 zenith port to make room for the @SpaceX CRS-28 cargo mission, which must go zenith so the @csa_asc Canadarm2 can reach the trunk to extract two beautiful IROSA solar arrays that we’ll install… https://t.co/XfDRZPqBRa

— Woody Hoburg (@Astro_Woody) May 7, 2023

NASA live streamed the short flight and later shared some of the footage in a tweet.

The @SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour with four crewmates aboard undocked from the station at 7:23am ET today and took a 38-minute trip to its new port. More… https://t.co/aUIf9Ujlai pic.twitter.com/EiyDvB0Kmi

— International Space Station (@Space_Station) May 6, 2023

This was the 27th spacecraft relocation maneuver in the space station’s two decades of operation, according to NASA.

The most recent relocation maneuver before Saturday’s took place last month when three space station crewmembers rode a Russian Soyuz spacecraft between two ports to make room for another visiting cargo spacecraft. Before that, in July 2021, SpaceX flew a Crew Dragon to another port to make way for Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, which arrived a short while later on a test flight.

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