SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, launched on May 30, is performing well, NASA reports. The health of the Crew Dragon capsule is being monitored by NASA since the launch, and the state is great so far.
Initially, the mission was meant to be a short test flight that would last around two weeks. However, before the launch NASA decided not to set the length for it after all as the aim was to check the performance of the spacecraft in orbit in general.
The Crew Dragon was rated to last up to 119 days in space and the original plan now is to bring the NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley back to Earth in August. “The Dragon is doing very well, so we think it’s reasonable for the crew to stay up there a month or two”, says Ken Bowersox, the acting associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA.
August is considered a good time for ending the mission because of the suitable weather conditions and light winds in the parts of the Gulf of Mexico and the east coast of Florida, the zone set for landing.
There are a number of benefits that the extended stay will provide, one of which is the spacewalks. As Behnken and Chris Cassidy (another NASA astronaut aboard the ISS) are highly experienced spacewalkers, they will be able to implement several of those in order to replace batteries in the station’s power system. Longer time in space will also allow Bob and Doug to collect more research and do more routine maintenance.