Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have been conducting tests to evaluate the performance of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship that launched three weeks ago as part of the first manned mission from U.S. soil to the orbiting laboratory in nearly a decade, Teslarati reported Friday.
Kathy Lueders, associate administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, said agency and ISS crews perform weekly powerup and checkout activities to ensure system health and capability to function as a lifeboat.
The agency could ask four astronauts to board the spacecraft as part of further tests aimed at demonstrating the ability of the spacecraft to leave the station in the event of an emergency.
NASA officials estimate that Crew Dragon will return to Earth in early August to wrap up the Demo-2 flight mission.
SpaceX aims to ferry three astronauts from NASA and one from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to ISS for the first crewed operational flight of the company's space vehicle. The Crew-1 mission is scheduled to launch no earlier than Aug. 30.