Two astronauts are taking a spacewalk outside the International Space Station today (August 21) to install a new docking port — marking the fifth spacewalk of the year amid a busy month aboard the station.
NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan will exit from the Quest airlock around 8:20 a.m. EDT (12:30 GMT) to begin their 6.5-hour planned spacewalk. You can watch the spacewalk live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, or directly from NASA’s livestream here.
The pair will install the International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) to Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 on the space-facing side of the station’s Harmony module. IDA-3 will serve as a second docking port at the space station in order to accomodate incoming commercial crew spacecraft Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon.
Hague already has two spacewalks under his space belt, where he assisted in battery replacements, while this will be Morgan’s first time venturing outside the space station.
“We talked to them this morning,” Scott Stover, NASA spacewalk flight director, said during a press briefing on Aug. 16. “They’re excited, they’re ready to go.”
It’s a busy month for the space station, as its six-person Expedition 60 crew are also tending to scientific research on board such as rodent experiments and stem cell differentiation. In addition to Hague and Morgan, the crew includes NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Russian cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov and European Space Agency astroantu Luca Parmitano. Ovchinin commands the Expedition 60 mission.
NASA’s partnership with commercial crews such as SpaceX and Boeing is meant to support the U.S. crews’ dedication to scientific research and technological advances onboard the space station that aim to advance the agency’s future missions to the moon and Mars, according to a statement by NASA.