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

  • AUTHOR: midhat
  • POSTED ON: September 17, 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

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

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

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’

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

Updated September 17, 2020
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