ISS the greatest tourist hotspot around with commercial flights now welcome

23 Feb 2015

Astronauts were busy bees over the weekend, kitting the out the International Space Station (ISS) for future commercial guests after a successful spacewalk by Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts.

After attaching several new cables to the port side of the Pressurized Mating Adapter-2, the duo will ultimately add a total of 360 feet of cable, finishing the job on Wednesday to enable US commercial crew vehicles under development to dock at the space station in the coming years.

Yesterday’s work saw the astronauts route cables to a docking port on the station’s Harmony module, which is where space shuttles berthed in the past.

Future Human

Last week, US space agency NASA said this would be “the most complicated cable-routing task that we have performed (by spacewalkers) to date,” which is even more significant when you consider this was Virts’ first ever space walk.

Along with cabling, the astronauts are installing a whole new communications system to support Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s upgraded Dragon capsules.

The work ultimately sets the stage for the launch and installation of two brand new international docking systems. Boeing is building them, with the Dragon scheduled to transport them up in one of its many missions later this year.

Indeed SpaceX’s introduction into commercial space flights has seen a speedy evolution of projects regarding the ISS.

The final mission for the Wilmore and Virts’ spacewalk will be to lubricate the end of the space station’s robotic arm, with live coverage of it on Wednesday.

ISS Spacewalk

Spacewalkers Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts work to set up 340 feet of cable on Pressurized Mating Adapter-2, readying it for an International Docking Adapter to accommodate future commercial crew vehicles. Image via NASA TV

Space tourism image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic