Today, astronauts Tim Peake and Tim Kopra worked on a communications system inside the International Space Station, specifically tailored to the needs of future visiting vehicles, including Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon under development in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Known as Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles, or C2V2, the system uses both radio frequencies and hard-line connections to allow the station and spacecraft to talk to each other throughout rendezvous and docking operations, as well as when the spacecraft is connected to one of the station’s docking ports. The astronauts, two of the three people living and working on the station right now, are routing cables today inside the station.
The Commercial Crew Program spacecraft are designed to take astronauts to the space station using American spacecraft launching from Florida’s Space Coast. Carrying up-to four astronauts at a time plus a time critical of cargo, the spacecraft will add an additional member to the space station crew compliment, an increase that will double the amount of time astronauts have to devote to scientific research, which benefits us on Earth and prepares NASA for its journey to Mars.