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Astronauts To Install A Parking Space For SpaceX and Boeing At The ISS (popularmechanics.com) 77

Since Boeing and SpaceX will begin sending NASA astronauts into orbit next year, the International Space Station is going to need a place for them to park. Astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins will journey outside the ISS on Friday to install a new docking adapter for these two private companies. Popular Mechanics reports: "Installing these adapters is a necessary step in NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which seeks to spur development of commercial crew spacecraft. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 8:05 a.m. on Friday, and live coverage will start at 6:30. This will be Williams' fourth spacewalk, and Rubins' first." In the meantime, you can watch this video describing exactly what the spacewalk will entail.
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Astronauts To Install A Parking Space For SpaceX and Boeing At The ISS

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  • by EzInKy ( 115248 ) on Thursday August 18, 2016 @02:45AM (#52723883)

    I can't even imagine how much change would be required to feed a meter like that. One would think that would take the bulk of the payload.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Thursday August 18, 2016 @04:53AM (#52724115)

      Well, I hope that this parking space will be outfitted with a electric charging socket, which will pave the way for electric spacecraft. Critics of electric cars point out the lack of public charging opportunities.

      Otherwise, spacecraft emissions will cause outer space warming!

      Think about taking your Tesla XXX out for a Sunday drive, and then zipping up into space to the ISS Shopping Mall Food Court to grab a burger.

      • It seems you could cook your burger with your Tesla [extremetech.com]...
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Serious question, what is the electrical connection? Data, power or both? Does the ISS provide power to the spacecraft while docked, perhaps recharging its batteries?

        • Data, power or both?

          "Captain, a giant flying USB memory stick would like to dock with our station . . . should we allow it?

          Does the ISS provide power to the spacecraft while docked, perhaps recharging its batteries?

          That was my idea. If you have every had the pleasure of seeing black and white cinema serial episodes of "Buck Rogers" and "Flash Gordon", they were brilliant. The engines sounded like an electric razor and smoked like they had a lit sparkler on their tails. They needed to charge those things up somewhere.

          And where would the ISS Power Station and Convenience Kwik e Mart get its power from?

          Solar and

          • "Captain, a giant flying USB memory stick would like to dock with our station . . . should we allow it?

            ISS > USB spacestick device not recognized: format ? (Y/N)

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The new docking adaptor (IDA) will provide 120volt and 28volt power and a modified 100BaseT connection.

          No spacecraft currently uses these connections, they are provided for future expansion.

      • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Thursday August 18, 2016 @08:13AM (#52724611)

        Well, I hope that this parking space will be outfitted with a electric charging socket, which will pave the way for electric spacecraft. Critics of electric cars point out the lack of public charging opportunities.

        Otherwise, spacecraft emissions will cause outer space warming!

        Think about taking your Tesla XXX out for a Sunday drive, and then zipping up into space to the ISS Shopping Mall Food Court to grab a burger.

        Electric spacecraft sucks because they are no good for towing and you can't land and take off on a planet... At least with combustion spacecraft you can visit Pluto if you want.... (grin)

        • I eagerly await the electric towing spacecraft. Perhaps we can name one the Planetes?

        • Electric spacecraft sucks because they are no good for towing and you can't land and take off on a planet... At least with combustion spacecraft you can visit Pluto if you want.... (grin)

          Hybrids are the way to go.

    • I can't even imagine how much change would be required to feed a meter like that. One would think that would take the bulk of the payload.

      Solution: Pay-by-phone.

      New problem: No cell signal.

    • They can install one of those solar powered CC enabled meters like in LA, so upon docking the commander can scan his Visa/Mastercard and open a tab until he undocks to go home.
    • by no1nose ( 993082 )

      This could be a good use of Bitcoins.

  • by AnotherAnonymousUser ( 972204 ) on Thursday August 18, 2016 @02:46AM (#52723885)
    Maybe someone in the know can answer all of this, but what's responsibility like if a country or now private entity damages the ISS with a botched docking? Are there policies governing these kinds of incidents - a you break it, you buy it kind of thing?
    • Re:Fender benders? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zandamesh ( 1689334 ) on Thursday August 18, 2016 @03:14AM (#52723951)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty"

      The country is responsible

    • My expectation is that these craft will dock the way other automated docking happens, by use of the Canadarm. Otherwise, it is being piloted by an astronaut, which means that the US itself would be responsible, as it would be their person doing the docking, and not SpaceX or Boeing.

      • No once IDA is in and the Dragon V2.0 capsule is available it will auto-dock with the ISS by itself (with optional manual astronaut controlled docking) just like the Soyuz capsule. No Canadarm required as for the current berthing procedure.

        • Interesting, thank you for the correction. I thought that was one of the things brought up in the Martian (I know...science fiction) that it is not usual for a manned craft to be piloted by robot (or remotely in that case) as if you have the pilots there, they can perform the piloting. It never hurts to be corrected when I am wrong though.

          • Actually, it is piloted by a robot: the on-board computer. Astronauts have had very little say in how space thingies flew, historically. We're not coping well with nine degrees of freedom.
  • Like, "This space reserved for Elon Musk"?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why do they need a new adapter? Surely that sort of thing is standardized?

  • IIRC, all current human manned space programs (ISS, Russia, and China) use the Russian docking system, making them all compatible with each other. The US space shuttles also used the Russian docking system before they were retired. Are there any significant benefits to the new docking system that makes it worth the design and installation expenses as well as the loss of compatibility?
    • It may be a quantity thing, they want to have the ability to have both the Russians and Commercial be able to dock at the same time, rather than waiting for one spaceship to leave before the next can dock. I don't believe though that the Shuttles used the Russian dock, I thought they had their own as well that is going unused currently.

      http://www.airspacemag.com/spa... [airspacemag.com]

      It appears that (at least in 2011) there were 5 docking points on the ISS, one being specifically for the shuttle.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Shuttle used APAS-95, these were designed and built by Energia (Russians). Currently nobody uses the APAS-95, its the CMB or the other type of Russian dock that Soyuz and Progress use.

    • APAS (what you call the Russian docking system) is just a docking system - it mechanically attaches two units. NDS (the new system) in addition to the mechanical attachment includes power, data, and communications interfaces.

      And it's not like all docking and berthing ports on ISS are APAS - there's also CBM. Which is used for the MPLM cargo containers, the Japanese HTV vehichles, the Cygnus cargo vehicles, and the Dragon cargo vehicles.

    • by twosat ( 1414337 )

      My understanding of the docking systems is that the old APAS system relied on a heavy vehicle like the approximately 100-ton space shuttle using its momentum to force the docking mechanism to function. The new spacecraft being planned are much smaller and lighter and it would put a big strain on them to apply so much force, plus their docking system would have to be made more robust and hence heavier.

  • LIVE: US EVA-36 - August 19, 2016 http://forum.nasaspaceflight.c... [nasaspaceflight.com]

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