NASA astronauts are venturing out into space to install a component key to the future of commercial crew mission. The International Space Station is getting a new dock, which will be used in 2017 by Boeing and SpaceX to start ferrying crew to and from the station, marking the first time private companies have been able to do so, and ending the current Russian monopoly on ISS astronaut transit.
The spacewalk will be done by NASA’s Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams, and begins at 8:05 AM ET. It’s not as simple as putting an IKEA coffee table together, however – the installation is set to take six and a half hours in total, and a lot of the work has been prepped in advance on the international docking adapter to be installed, which was delivered by SpaceX on July 20, and which was unpacked on August 17.
For Rubins, it’s a first – this is her inaugural spacewalk. Williams will be doing his fourth trip walking around outside the ISS.