Click the arrow to watch the access arm installation. Video source: NASAKennedy YouTube channel.
A big symbolic step was taken yesterday towards resuming human spaceflight on the Space Coast.
The Crew Access Arm was installed August 15 at Launch Complex 41, operated by United Launch Alliance. Their Atlas V rocket will be the booster for Boeing's CST-100 (AKA Starliner) commercial crew capsule scheduled to launch its first crewed test flight in February 2018.
Another big step comes on Friday August 19, when International Space Station astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams perform a spacewalk to install the International Docking Adapter. The commercial crew vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX are only compatible with the IDA, a new NASA standard.
The first IDA was destroyed when SpaceX CRS-7 exploded two minutes after launch on June 28, 2015. Rubins and Williams will install IDA-2. A third, designated IDA-3, is being assembled from spare parts.
Click to watch “The Road to IDA.” Video source: NASAJohnson YouTube channel.