The International Space Station is about to get its first commercially-built Airlock

  • POSTED ON: 17/Sep/2020

Source: TheVerge

Later this year, Space X's Falcon 9 rocket will be taking off from central Florida. It will be carrying a huge metal cup which will soon be the first-ever privately built InternationalSpace Station’s airlock.

The first commercial airlock, known as Bishop, is the first-of-its-kind commercial airlock, designed to get payloads from the space station into the vacuum of space.

It’s like a Bell-shaped airlock that fixes itself to the space station's exterior using a few latches and clamps. It is the product of an aerospace company, which aids private companies to get passage to space.

As of now, the company has produced smaller space-bound hardware, including standardized research boxes that companies can utilize to carry out experiments in the microgravity environment of the space station. The company has also established its own satellite deployers that are used to push tiny spacecraft into orbit, both from the ISS and smaller free-flying spaceships. Bishop seems to be the most determined piece of hardware that the company has ever built.

Once the Nanorack's bishop is there, consider it extra real estate till we actually wish to use it. it can be used in various ways and the foremost is to bring stuff outside- says Mike Lewis, Nanoracks’s chief innovation officer. 

First, payloads are attached to the inner part of Bishop. The hatches are then closed by the astronauts, reducing the airlock's inside air. The entire assembly from the station will then be detached through a robotic arm.

Lewis said that the whole experience is like of a submarine as you go into the water but here you are heading into the vacuum.

Currently, The ISS has three airlocks in total, out of which only two are functional for allowing people to exit the station. One of them is the Japanese Experiment Module, used to release payloads. GITAI, a Japanese startup is already seeking to experiment its robotic arm inside Nanoracks’ airlock.

Bishop is scheduled to head to the space station in mid-November.

Updated 2020-09-18 at 06:08:55


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