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11.15.19
Open the Pod Bay Doors

Astronauts Add Docking Bay For Private Spaceships to Space Station

August 23rd 19__Victor Tangermann__Filed Under: Off World
NASA

A New Port

Astronauts Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan spent six and a half hours outside the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday installing a new docking port for commercial crew spacecraft.

The new port, called IDA-3, will allow private spacecraft such as Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to dock with the space station in the near future.

It will be the second docking port of its kind on the ISS. The first docking port, called IDA-2, was installed in the summer of 2016 and was used by SpaceX’s uncrewed Crew Dragon spacecraft during its Demo-1 test flight to the ISS in March.

Docked

Cables for the adapter were delivered five years ago and attached to the outside of the station, Space.com reports. Two large reflectors on the outside of the new docking port will provide visibility during docking maneuvers.

If all goes according to plan, the new docking port could one day be used by American astronauts traveling to the ISS from American soil — for the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.

READ MORE: NASA TV to Air US Spacewalk, Briefing on Space Station Docking Port Install [NASA]

More on the ISS: Russia Just Sent Its First Robot to Space