A stunning image shared by NASA shows the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft at the International Space Station (ISS) just a few days before it brings home the Crew-3 astronauts.
Crew Dragon Endurance docked at the International Space Station about 250 miles above Earth. NASA
The Endurance crew ship is shown from a window aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour capsule, which brought NASA’s first-ever paying astronauts to the ISS earlier this month in the Ax-1 mission organized by Texas-based Axiom Space.
NASA and SpaceX are gearing up for a busy few days at the space station.
The Crew-3 astronauts — Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, along with Matthias Maurer from the European Space Agency — will return to Earth later this month.
But before that, on Saturday, Crew-3 will see off NASA’s fee-paying visitors who arrived at the ISS on April 9. The Ax-1 mission was originally supposed to last 10 days but has been extended by five days after poor conditions at the splashdown site off the coast of Florida forced NASA to delay the departure.
Crew-3 will also welcome the Crew-4 astronauts, who are expected to arrive at the ISS in the middle of next week.
Chari, Marshburn, Barron, and Maurer recently talked about the highlights of their six-month stay aboard the orbiting outpost in a special Q&A session with reporters on Earth.
During their time in space, the four astronauts had a hand in hundreds of experiments and technology demonstrations and also participated in spacewalks involving maintenance and upgrade work.
NASA’s busy scheduling period at the ISS has been made possible by SpaceX’s successful development of its reusable space transportation hardware that first flew astronauts in a successful test flight in the summer of 2020.