New Delhi: Two NASA astronauts are performing a spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday to install a new docking mechanism – the first of two international docking adapters (IDAs) that will be used for the future arrivals of Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew spacecraft.
Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA are conducting the spacewalk to install equipment (adaptor) that was launched on a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft and arrived at the station on July 20, 2016.
The spacewalk began at 8:05 a.m. EDT, Friday August 19, 2016.
However, coverage of the spacewalk began at 6:30 a.m. EDT on NASA TV and the agency’s website.
As per NASA, the two astronauts will venture outside the space station’s Quest airlock to install the first IDA onto Pressurized Mating Adapter-2, located on the forward end of the Harmony module.
The main purpose of the IDA is to provide a port for spacecraft bringing astronauts to the station in the future.
This will be the fourth spacewalk in Williams’ career, and the first for Rubins.
Commercial crew flights from Florida’s Space Coast to the space station will restore America’s human spaceflight launch capability and increase the time US crews can dedicate to scientific research, which is helping prepare astronauts for deep space missions, including the journey to Mars.