The International Space Station is one seriously high-tech laboratory, but it can only remain useful as long as all of its systems are operating as intended. That means regular maintenance, and right now a pair of NASA astronauts are floating around outside the ISS, performing a number of key tasks, including the installation of a new docking port adapter that will make the space station compatible with new commercial spacecraft.
The spacewalk began at around 8:30 a.m. EST and was planned for six and a half hours, so you still have plenty of time to watch NASA’s Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan carry out their duties on NASA’s live stream.
The spacewalk, which you can watch right here via the YouTube window below, features the installation of an International Docking Adapter, or IDA, which makes it possible for new spacecraft models such as SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner to attach themselves to the space station safely.
This is now the second IDA to be installed on the space station, with the other IDA already being used during SpaceX’s unmanned Crew Dragon test mission to the ISS earlier this year.
Along with the adapter, NASA astronauts Hague and Morgan will be laying the groundwork for new Wi-Fi routers which will be used in the near future. Routing cables isn’t exactly the most thrilling job in the world, but when you’re doing it while tumbling through space it becomes a bit more interesting.
This is now the fifth spacewalk to be conducted at the International Space Station in 2019, and the third to feature NASA’s Nick Hague. Hague was one of the astronauts aboard the doomed Soyuz MS-10 launch which had to abort shortly after takeoff. A second launch went much more smoothly and Hague arrived on the ISS in March.