• The installation of new door at International Space Station will result in the launch of commercial crew capsules sooner than expected.

The installation of new door at International Space Station will result in the launch of commercial crew capsules sooner than expected. (Photo : Getty Images/NASA)

The United States astronauts went on a spacewalk on Aug. 19, Friday to install a new door or 'parking space' for the visitors at the International Space Station.   

The two American astronauts, Jeffrey Williams and Kate Rubins, took just a few hours to hook up the docking port. SpaceX had earlier in July accomplished the task of delivering this new gateway packed in the trunk of a Dragon cargo capsule.   

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Williams told  NASA TV, "It is a significant door opening in the history of human space exploration," Florida Today reported.

NASA has termed the gear as "a metaphorical gateway to a future" that will pave the way for emergence a new breed of US spacecrafts. This pivotal and first of its kind step which will result in the launch of commercial crew capsules sooner than expected -- It can happen sometime in the next year. The Americans haven't launched into orbit from their home turf since 2011, when NASA rocketed its last shuttle flight.  

SpaceX and Boeing are now expected to begin human launches from Cape Canaveral in a year or two. But it would have been impossible for their crew capsules to dock without this new parking spot, which has replaced the old-fashioned shuttle setup. Friday's success will open new avenues for the future of spaceships."We have a port of call for the new U.S. commercial crew vehicles,' announced Mission Control commentator Rob Navias,The Daily Mail reported. 

A year from now, SpaceX will conduct a test flight of its souped-up Dragon with two astronauts on board.  Boeing too is aiming to test its Starliner capsule in early 2018. Until that happens, Russia will continue to provide all the rides. 

The docking adaptor will be the first among two such additions to the space station, with the second likely to be installed in 2018.  Boeing has built the circular adaptor which measures around 42 inches (one meter) long and about 63 inches wide. Kenneth Todd, ISS operations integration manager has termed Friday's installation a "very significant milestone on the path to the establishment of commercial crew capability." 

The adaptors will work with Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon, two spaceships under construction which aims to carry astronauts to the space station. 

The docking adaptor is more sophisticated than past equipment as it allows automatic parking instead of the grapple and berthing process in place currently, and which requires astronauts. 

A series of spacewalks last year have helped prepare the groundwork for the adaptor's arrival.