NASA conducted a habitability assessment of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule to see if it could comfortably carry more than two astronauts on future missions.
The Crew Dragon arrived at the International Space Station with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken from NASA in late May. This was the first time the capsule was used by the crew.
During the evaluation, NASA's Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin Hurley and Behnken joined in the capsule. Together they were able to show that there was still enough space to carry out all the necessary tasks in connection with a regular mission without any problems.
The successful test means that in September 2020, apart from major problems, the Crew Dragon will fly four astronauts to the space station. The capsule, which could eventually carry up to seven people, is also used for upcoming flights in space tourism.
The evaluation exercise was conducted earlier this month. NASA released an edited video (below) of the task on YouTube on Tuesday, July 21.
Since this is only the second time in space after its debut flight in 2019 as part of a test mission without a crew to the space station, Hurley and Behnken were commissioned to perform a series of additional tests on the capsule to ensure this. All functions work in a space environment, as they should.
This included confirming the safety of the capsule's entry / exit hatch, ensuring the reliability of the waste system and verifying that there was sufficient space for the required cargo.
NASA officials are targeting Hurley and Behnken to leave the ISS aboard Crew Dragon on August 1. A splashdown is expected the next day, probably in the Atlantic.
For a further look at the Crew Dragon, take a look at the personal tour that Behnken gave on the outward journey.