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Spacewalkers Install New Docking Port On Space Station

This artist's concept shows a SpaceX Crew Dragon docking with the International Space Station, as it will during a mission for NASA's Commercial Crew Program. NASA is partnering with Boeing and SpaceX to build a new generation of human-rated spacecraft capable of taking astronauts to the station and back to Earth, thereby expanding research opportunities in orbit. Photo: SpaceX

Work begins Friday to install a new docking port on the International Space Station that will help private companies send astronauts to the station.

The International Docking Adapter paves the way for NASA’s Commercial Crew program – where private companies Boeing and SpaceX will send U.S. astronauts to the space station from Cape Canaveral.

The docking port arrived at the station earlier this summer, thanks to SpaceX. This week, robotic operators positioned the adapter just inches away from its new home.

Now, it’s up to space-walkers Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins to install the port – and connect power cables and sensors.

Once the adapter is installed, Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon will have a place to ‘park’ their vehicles at the International Space Station. Test flights of those spacecraft start next year.

NASA plans to install an additional docking port on the station.

You can watch the spacewalk that lasts about six hours on NASA TV, starting at 6:30 AM EST.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »