Two American astronauts currently living on the International Space Station (ISS), installed a new docking door for commercial crew capsules to arrive in the upcoming years. The adding comes as a response from NASA’s agreement with private companies to create American space capsules and avoid Russian monopoly.
Jeffrey Williams and Kate Ribins were the two Americans in charge of the new docking port on the ISS, the team of two installed the port while NASA broadcasted their advances in real time. The new gate will be used as soon as 2017 when SpaceX launches its first human ship after years of preparation. A year after a Boeing shuttle will begin their first launches with people on board.
The installation of the doc is a milestone for NASA who has been depending on Russian shuttles since the last American shuttle flew in 2011. The equipment needed to install the doc was initially delivered by a SpaceX shuttle that suffered an explosion last summer, delaying the process until last month.
If the movie “Gravity” taught us anything is that installing something in space is not an easy job, since it requires astronauts to be exposed to outer-space dangers while performing the task.
Williams and Ribins were the two lucky astronauts in charge of installing the ISS’s new docking port. Jeffrey Williams is a veteran spacewalker, with experience on the subject, so he was the first one to get out of the ISS through the hatch. On the other hand astronaut, Kate Ribins has a freshman in the subject; her teammate urged her to come out and see the “phenomenal view” before starting the installation. Ribins spacewalk makes her a part of an exclusive club,
Ribins’ spacewalk makes her a part of an exclusive club, being the 11th American woman to perform a spacewalk and the 12th woman in the world to do such a thing. Both astronauts worked for over an hour on the task, before successfully finishing.
During the past decade, American private businesses such as Jeff Bezos New Origins, have been focused on creating commercial space shuttles to start exploring the outer-space market.
NASA has been a great advocate for human traveling in space, especially because it serves as trials for their objective of sending people to Mars as early as 2030. The company has even expanded the ISS duration to perform this tasks.
“The station is now much more affordable as a research and development platform for commercial companies,” said Frank Culbertson Jr, who is the president of the Orbital ATK Spae System and former NASA astronaut.
When the space company signed a contract with private space companies such as Boeing CO and Space Exploration Tech, they agreed to extend the ISS duration and structure to test commercial shuttles and its process.
Originally the ISS was supposed to work until September 2020, but now it has announced its functioning for another decade, so the space laboratory will remain working until 2024.
Many of the private space companies are investing into bringing commercial space travel, Blue Origin’s CEO, Jeff Bezos has consistently discussed his visions of people going and visiting space as a regular vacation and that idea is not so far away.
The companies are currently on launch trials and bettering their space shuttles that one day could make humans see beyond our planet and visit the ISS. NASA hopes this advances could lead to discoveries for their Mars mission. NASA is currently fixated on performing and evaluating human space travel, to find out how going from out of space for extended periods could affect people. These investigations go by the hand with soil studies in Mars.
The space agency is performing several missions to continue their investigation of the red planet, with advanced equipment and shuttles traveling Mars environment to determine how humans could live on the planet.
NASA expects to launch their “humans to Mars” mission as early as 2030 and create a civilization of people living on the red planet’s surface to determine a substantial form of life in a different planetary soil.
Source: US News