back to article ISS astronauts begin spacewalk to install new docking adapter

Two astronauts from the International Space Station have started their spacewalk to install the new International Docking Adapter. Jeff Williams, an experienced spacewalker, is joined by Kate Rubins, who is the twelfth female astronaut to perform a spacewalk. The Docking Adapter is the connecting point for spacecraft joining …

  1. I_am_Chris

    In space...

    ... No-one can drop a wrench. One, because there's no gravity for it to fall and two, they are tethered.

    1. DNTP

      Re: In space… no one can hear you drop

      This is technically incorrect. In LEO, there is %92 as much gravity as on Earth's surface. However, even though there is nearly as much gravity, you can't drop a wrench because it has been pre-dropped. Everything in free-fall is already dropping as much as it can possibly drop, and cannot be dropped any further.

      Can you spill a glass of water, while underwater?

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: In space… no one can hear you drop

        "Can you spill a glass of water, while underwater?"

        Well, in this case, yeah, you kinda can. The problem is that unlike cows known to be quite practically spherical, the ISS isn't exactly a point-sized object, yet the "no falling" perfect equilibrium orbit applies only to its centre of mass. Everything that isn't in that single point keeps not falling out of orbit out of sheer determination and, well, due to being attached to the rest of the ISS. Putting it differently, there _is_ gravity inside the ISS too, stuff does fall instead of just hovering motionlessly - albeit really slowly. So dropping an unsecured wrench outside would sooner or later see it drift away too - but you'd likely have lots of time to reach out and retrieve it if you just left it there floating...

    2. Marc 25

      Re: In space...

      ... No-one can drop a wrench...

      Pretty sure we're all failing through Spacetime. We're failing around the sun, the spacestation falling around us. So actually the wrench is failing at the same rate as the Spacestation around us on our pale blue dot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In space...the spin doctor is In.

        And thank *Deity* for supplying all that wonderful angular momentum, which is the only thing keeping us from falling into the black holes.

  2. DaveB

    Don't drop that wrench

    At an ISS briefing two years ago it was said that they had dropped two wrenches, into earth orbit, due to a design faults in the tethers.

    Each wrench cost more than $million. In fact when astronauts practice in the "tank" they use plastic wrenches as the real ones don't like water.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Don't drop that wrench

      Wrench? They "dropped" a whole tool bag.

      It floated away and later re-entered Earth's atmosphere.

      On the plus side, it wasn't a classic Nokia. :)

      1. Paul

        Re: Don't drop that wrench

        You can't deep link directly to an image on that wp site

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Re: Don't drop that wrench

          But if you copy and paste the url it works fine which pretty much defeats the point of the block.

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Even narrower than previous designs

    Not quite sure why NASA keeps narrowing them as it makes moving around in a space suit a real PITA.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even narrower than previous designs

      Maybe it's because a pressure door is fairly heavy, and the mass increases faster than the size? So even a small decrease in diameter may reduce mass substantially, and costs too.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Even narrower than previous designs

      It's not narrower.

      The previous international docking adaptors were based on the one designed as part of the Apollo Soyuz Test Program, and have a 80cm wide opening.

      The new International Docking Adaptor is a modification of that design, and still has an 80cm aperture.

      Also, this is a docking adaptor for pressurised spacecraft, not an airlock where people will be exiting to do spacewalks, therefore it will only ever contain people in shirtsleeves, not spacesuits.

  4. MonsieurTM

    Slowly catching up with the Soviet/Russian gear...

    Although the docking ports on the Russian Section are narrower they've had recharge, fuel & water transfer amongst other connection as standard for at least t20 years and perhaps since 1972ish (DOS-2).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slowly catching up with the Soviet/Russian gear...

      Of course, according to that veritable font of knowledge Wikipedia, IDA is in fact mostly made by Russians anyway, with the all-American gold plating'n'pork supplied by Boeing:

      Boeing is the primary contractor for the IDAs and the adapters were assembled at their Houston Product Support Center.[7][8] Parts from subcontractors came from 25 American states and the primary structure is from Russian company RSC Energia.[5][8]

      So it is no real surprise it is kind of similar, is it?

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Ha. The IDA in that pic is resting with the fishes.

  6. Ole Juul Silver badge

    NASA faux pas

    You can watch the rest of it here. ®

    No I can't. It requires flash.

  7. 404 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    It's 'spacecraft' not 'spacecrafts'

    Expected at the Daily Fail, but not here... get your shit together, eh?

  8. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Pressurised Mating Adapter

    I could do with one of those. Or so I'm told.

  9. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    "The new adapter will make it easier for spacecrafts to enter the station’s driveway and park."

    Will there be a valet service or am I expected to do this myself?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Robot valets

      Though you'll be expected to watch them very closely, and forgive then if they accidentally crash the spacecraft as long as they make the sad face.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Will there be a valet service or am I expected to do this myself?

      Well, Marvin wioll haven be occupied elsewhere, and currently I'm unaware of any other robots being able and inclined to take on that job.

  10. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Joke

    A new international standard?

    I must get one for my front door as soon as possible. It will make things so much easier when friends visit...

  11. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Happy

    snooze mode

    Will it play The Blue Danube?

  12. Youngone Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Totally Offtopic

    Does anyone else find it creepy and weird how every often a huge US flag appears whenever there's a pic of some happening in the US?

    It's almost like the sort of clumsy and weird propaganda we used to see from the old Soviet Bloc countries, except no-one seems to find it odd. (Except me, maybe).

    1. cray74

      Re: Totally Offtopic

      Does anyone else find it creepy and weird how every often a huge US flag appears whenever there's a pic of some happening in the US?

      Depends on the news topic. If you're reading a lot of science news and thus seeing a lot of articles about the US space program, then you'll be looking at a lot of US government buildings. Those tend to have flags in front of them or in them. In this article, you're looking inside NASA's Space Station Processing Center so, no surprise, you see a flag.

      The same isn't true in the commercial world. The aerospace facility I work at has flag poles (US, state, and corporate) at the very front of a sprawling, multi-building complex, and hangs a flag on the wall in one of the factory buildings, but other US flags are only hung at the preference of employees. I have a neighbor who put a small handheld US flag at the entrance to his cube, for example, and two others with symbols of their favorite sports teams. College flags are also popular around the office.

      You largely don't see cult-of-personality photographs or paintings of leaders. I've seen higher ranked government officials hang portraits of Presidents in their offices, but they're pretty much absent in private industry unless someone got an autographed photo or photographed handshake with the VIP.

      In short, the impression I get out of US flags in these photos is more like a corporate logo or the usual US ra-ra-ra nationalism than indoctrination, but I might be so indoctrinated that I don't think twice about it. :)

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Totally Offtopic

        Thanks cray74, that's a nice measured response. I might have been conflating the flag in the pic with the weird ra-ra militarism I saw last season watching an NFL football game during the "military round" or whatever they called it, when the field was covered in soldiers before the game.

        That really did look soviet.

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