SpaceX Demo-2 Stream of Consciousness – Part 2: ISS Docking

All Screenshots from NASA Live YouTube Channel Stream of Launch

Right off the bat, this one is going off the rails (for me, not for the mission) I turned the feed on a little before 10:30 only to find that the rendezvous occurred earlier than scheduled and they’ve already docked, so i’m backing the coverage up to see, but, spoiler alert, They’ve successfully docked the Crew Dragon with the ISS with no issue.

OK, trying to find the point in the stream where they started the rendezvous, looks like it was about 45 minutes ago.

Those little cold-gas pulse-width maneuvering thrusters are cool. When I was in grad school, we had a Friday afternoon seminar series from visiting lecturers where I learned that these are refereed to affectionately as “mouse-fart thrusters.” Just thought you all needed to know that.

This is about to get real, it’s approaching the ISS docking node! look at the view of the ISS from the Crew Dragon, i’m geeking out, if I wasn’t so prone to motion sickness, I would love to be in Doug and Bob’s position

I love that the nose cone of the Crew Dragon is just a little pop-top that reveals the docking interface and hatch, such a simple design, well done SpaceX!

They are cutting the video feed from the Dragon for the next 20 minutes while Doug and Bob change out of their space suits, how considerate of them! Meanwhile, the Astronauts on the ISS are preparing for their arrival. They’ve already pressurized the airlock between the docking node and the rest of the station ahead of time (it’s like a cooking show where they have the casserole that’s already been baking in the wall oven), now they’ve opened the docking node hatch and they’re pressurizing the airlock between the ISS and the Crew Dragon.

Setting up cameras for photo ops #SpaceSelfies. Also of note, Polo Shirts and Khakis truly are the universal outfit for engineers everywhere, even in space! And as if on cue, the video feed to the Crew Dragon is back, and look what they’ve changed out of their space suits into!

This is the fourth time Doug and Bob have asked for confirmation of timeline to opening the hatch. This is the astronaut equivalent of “Are we there yet?” can you blame them though, they’ve been stuck in that 3 meter cone with each other for 19 hours and counting. If it were me in there I’d be antsy too and it would probably be starting to smell. They also seem to be having some trouble with the direct communications link, they’re going through a trouble shoot sequence which is clearly an overly technical “Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on?”

The ISS commander (referred to only as Chris by the commentators, continuing the folksy first names only theme) has changed into some kind of jump suit now, not sure why, i liked his cargo shorts and polo. Definitely feeling the gold toe socks though. Doug and Bob just asked again how long until hatch opening so they could gage if they should shutdown the waste disposal unit or leave it operational for a bit longer (translation: “how much longer is this going to be, because I’m going to need to go to the bathroom again before too long”). They decided to leave it operational for a few minutes while they get ready to open the hatch to the docking node, probably a wise decision.

OK, here we go, they’re about to open the hatch. The Commentators keep teasing “VIPs at Mission Control in Houston for the welcome aboard ceremony” I wonder who they’re going to be? not the President or he would have been tweeting about it all night, and we would know already. Here we go, Hatch Open! There’s that little dragon mascot again from yesterday, glad to see him make another appearance (My wife points out that it looks more like a dinosaur than a dragon, she is right of course).

Bob’s through the hatch first, he and Chris have a bit of an awkward moment as they aren’t sure how they are supposed to greet each other. They decide to hug, good move in zero-g. Hugs all around. The other two ISS crew members are Russian cosmonauts referred to by the commentators only as Ivan and Anatoli because of course they are. and then they get all posed up for this welcome ceremony. It’s totally clear from their body language that the ISS crew is completely comfortable in zero-g but Doug and Bob haven’t gotten their “Space Legs” under them yet, so to speak. Also, I think Doug must have bonked his head at some point because he keeps dabbing his forehead with a tissue and then looking at it. Hope he’s ok.

OK welcome ceremony commencing. We’re about to find out who the VIPs are. Turns out it’s a bunch of NASA Administrators and Senator Ted Cruz (not gonna lie, thought that was Jimmy Kimmel at first glance) along with Representative Brian Babin.

Overall pretty good ceremony despite some ham-fisted attempts by the politicians to acknowledge but not really address the protests going on around the country, and the NASA Program Manager for Lunar Mission Support’s unabashed funding plea (Can’t blame him). Personal Side note (read: shameless namedrop), I know the deputy administrator, Jim Morehart who spoke during the ceremony, I’ve worked with him before, I’m practically famous!

Bye Guys! congratulations to Doug, Bob, Chris, Ivan, and Anatoli, and of course NASA and SpaceX. Let’s do this again, from the Moon!

You can read part one of this series about the Launch here:

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