Comercial Airlock 'Bishop' Now On ISS

'Bishop' - the quirky name for the bell-shaped commercial airlock now attached to the International Space Station (ISS) is the first of its kind.

The 2,000-lb. (907 kilograms) hunk of metal called Bishop is named after the pointy, diagonally-moving chess piece. The moniker represents the module's agility when attached to the station's robotic arm, but also represents Nanoracks' plans for the future. (The company isn't stopping at one airlock and even hopes to eventually launch its own space station.)

Bishop launched to the station on NASA's recent CRS-21 resupply mission, which blasted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Dec. 6. Tucked inside the unpressurized trunk of a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, the airlock was attached to the exterior of the station on Monday (Dec. 21) and will be powered on sometime in early 2021.

Once active, astronauts will be able to store items in the airlock by opening a hatch inside the station. When it comes time for deployment, they will seal the hatch and then arm operators in NASA's mission control center in Houston will use the station's robotic arm to remove the airlock, deploy the payload, and then reattach the airlock to the same port.

(Via Space.com)

Probably the first use of the term airlock in science fiction appears in Skylark of Space, by E.E. 'Doc' Smith.

The idea, however, was probably expressed earliest in A Journey in Other Worlds, by John Jacob Astor IV, in 1894; see the entry for double-door vestibule.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/13/2020)

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