NASA's able astronauts are to set up a brand new dock on the ISS soon. In fact, the coming Friday has been chosen as the due date for this mission.
After being stuck aboard the ISS for eons, NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams will get a chance to do some radical stretching soon. It will be a six and a half hour long spacewalk that will occur on the upcoming Friday.
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However this will not be for leisure purposes alone. These two astronauts will instead be installing an international docking adaptor (IDA) on the external surface of the ISS.
NASA will present this interesting scenario in the form of a live stream video at 6:30 AM ET. What is called the IDA is a fundamental part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. According to Engadget, many private companies form “space taxis” for NASA which take astronauts to and fro between the earth and the ISS.
SpaceX is busy manufacturing the Crew Dragon. As for Boeing, it is tinkering with a CST-100 Starliner. These spacecrafts will relay astronauts between the earth and the ISS in 2017 and 2018.
The IDA reached the ISS on July 20th. It had gotten launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. However, the Dragon capsule was not employed for this purpose at all. It was the Dragon’s trunk which served quite well for this worthy task.
The IDA remained within the trunk. It will be taken out on the upcoming Friday and attached with the ISS’s exterior. The astronauts will play a crucial role in the procedure.
Also the robotic arm of the ISS will go into action to attach the IDA with the surface. The two astronauts will get a little help from a Japanese astronaut named Takuya Onishi who hails from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency. He will assist them from within the ISS.
While this is the fourth spacewalk for Williams, it will be the first for Rubins. During the course of the installation, the two astronauts will be able to rehydrate via a large bag of water, but they won’t eat a thing.
NASA is concerned lest this spacewalk go wrong. So all precautionary measures have been taken beforehand. Basically, the IDA was supposed to be sent to the ISS last summer. Yet that didn’t pan out. So today this unfinished business is being brought to reach its denouement.