Spacewalk astronaut snaps Crew Dragon picture given as potential return date

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy tweeted a cool picture on Saturday showing SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft docked with the International Space Station (ISS). The capsule on the right looks tiny next to the giant space station, but the inside is actually big enough for a person to do something near a somersault.


Cassidy took the picture with his astronaut Bob Behnken during Friday's spacewalk. The excursion included ongoing work on upgrading the power supply systems on the space station and replacing old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries. The batteries store electricity from the station's main solar systems, and the new batteries provide improved and more efficient energy capacity for the outpost surrounding it.

Cassidy later tweeted a few other footage of the spacewalk, one as a "space selfie" and another shortly after the couple returned inside the ISS.

Astronauts appreciate every opportunity to be part of a #spacewalk, and yesterday was no different. @AstroBehnken and I have completed the first step in upgrading the external batteries connected to the outboard starboard solar arrays on @Space_Station.

– Chris Cassidy (@Astro_SEAL), June 27, 2020

NASA declared the six-hour spacewalk a success and is now preparing another one for Wednesday, July 1st, when the work will be completed.

Crew Dragon

The SpaceX capsule launched on May 30 for the first time with a crew and transported Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS as part of the Demo 2 mission.

NASA said last week that it is currently seeking crew Dragon's return with Behnken and Hurley no earlier than August 2. The journey home follows the completion of further tests of the spacecraft during its time docked at the space station.

This includes a habitability test scheduled for July 4th, in which four astronauts from the space station enter the capsule and carry out everyday activities and emergency measures to learn more about how they could work on future missions with more astronauts on board. While future NASA missions with the Crew Dragon are likely to include up to four astronauts, up to seven people could fly into space on upcoming space tourism trips.

Steve Stich, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, said last week: "We learn a lot about the vehicle (e.g.), how to manage the systems, heaters, and heat output as we go through the changes in orbit." and added: "The vehicle is running very well since we put it through its paces."

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