NASA Will Conduct An Interesting Operation This Thursday

On May 6th (at about 10:34 PM EDT) NASA will attempt to launch Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule to the ISS (a night time launch I hope to be able to see and film from my backyard).

Starliner was originally expected to launch (and gain approval of NASA operations) around the same time that the SpaceX Dragon crew capsule, but its development was fraught with delays and setbacks.  Six days from now, the first crewed launch for the vehicle will take place.

In order to prepare the “forward-facing” docking port (as in, basically facing Earth as opposed to space) the Dragon Crew Capsule Endeavour will be moved to a space-facing docking port elsewhere on the space station.

The move will be crewed and coverage will begin on NASA TV and elsewhere, starting at 7:45 am on Thursday, which you can watch here.

The ISS has several docking ports for both crewed and re-supply mission capsules, as shown in these illustrations:

And here’s a look at the various crew capsules that have flown or will soon be flown:

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