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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Astronauts Are About to Install a Parking Space for SpaceX and Boeing

As reported by Popular Mechanics:Starting in 2017, Boeing and SpaceX will become the first private companies to send NASA astronauts into orbit. When that happens, the International Space Station is going to need a new space parking space. So, on Friday, astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins will venture outside the ISS to finish installing a new docking adapter.

Installing these adapters is a necessary step in NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which seeks to spur development of commercial crew spacecraft. Since the space shuttle was discontinued in 2011, NASA has had to pay Russia million to take its astronauts to the ISS. The Commercial Crew Program will give NASA cheaper options in crewed spaceflight.

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. Here is a video describing exactly what the spacewalk will entail: