International Docking Adapter

The International Docking Adapter (IDA) is a spacecraft docking system adapter developed to convert APAS-95 to support docking with spacecraft that implement the International Docking System Standard. The IDA uses NASA Docking System (NDS) hardware. An IDA was permanently installed on each of the International Space Station's (ISS) two open Pressurized Mating Adapters (PMAs), both of which are connected to the Harmony module.

IDA-2 upright
IDA-1 upright


Prior to IDA several different docking adapters were designed to fill a similar role but were never implemented.

APAS to LIDS Adaptor SystemEdit

The APAS to LIDS Adaptor System (ATLAS) was announced in 2008.[1] It would have been placed on the open PMAs and converted APAS-95 to the Low Impact Docking System (LIDS).[1] ATLAS was planned to be launched on Orion's first two missions to the International Space Station.[1] Orion's missions to the ISS were later canceled altogether and its role as a crew transporter was replaced by the Commercial Crew Program.[2]

Common Docking AdapterEdit

Rendering of the now-cancelled Common Docking Adapter

The Common Docking Adapter (CDA) was announced in 2009.[3] It was planned to be used to convert the Common Berthing Mechanism to the NASA Docking System.[4] The CDAs would have been attached directly to Node-2 forward and Node-2 zenith.[4] They would have been delivered on the Japanese HTV cargo spacecraft.[4]


IDA converts APAS-95 to the NASA Docking System (which complies with the International Docking System Standard) and allows the transfer of crew, cargo, power and data.[5] IDA has a mass of 526 kg (1,160 lb), a height of 110 cm (42 in) and a width of 160 cm (63 in).[5][6] When including the docking targets, laser retro-reflectors and related systems that are arrayed around the outer perimeters, the outer diameter is about 240 cm (94 in).[5]

Boeing is the primary contractor for the IDAs and the adapters were assembled at their Houston Product Support Center.[7][8] Parts from subcontractors came from 25 American states and the primary structure is from Russian company RSC Energia.[5][8]

Deployment of IDA modulesEdit

When each IDA arrived, Dextre removed it from Dragon's trunk and moved it to about 30 cm (1 ft) from the front of the PMA. It then moved the IDA carefully into position until it was seated on the PMA and held it there.[8] Astronauts during an Extravehicular activity then completed the electrical connections and permanently connect it to the PMA.[8]

IDA-1 was planned to be attached to Node-2's forward PMA.[9] IDA-2 was originally planned to be attached to Node-2's zenith PMA.[9][10] But following the loss of IDA-1, IDA-2 was instead attached to Node-2's forward PMA (PMA-2).[11][12] IDA-3, a replacement for IDA-1, is installed at Node-2's zenith PMA (PMA-3).[11]


IDA-1 with thermal insulation

In February 2015, IDA-1 had been transported to the Kennedy Space Center while IDA-2 was still at Boeing's Houston facility.[8] The systems and targets for IDA-1 were put through about a month of tests at the Space Station Processing Facility before being loaded for launch.[5]

IDA-1 was lost during the launch failure of SpaceX CRS-7 on 28 June 2015.[9][10][13]


IDA-2 without thermal insulation

IDA-2 was launched on SpaceX CRS-9 on 18 July 2016.[14] It was attached and connected to PMA-2 during a spacewalk on 19 August 2016.[12] First docking was achieved with the arrival of Crew Dragon Demo-1 on 3 March 2019.[15]


IDA-3 was launched on the SpaceX CRS-18 mission in July 2019.[16] IDA-3 is constructed mostly from spare parts to speed construction.[17] It was attached and connected to PMA-3 during a spacewalk on 21 August 2019.[18] First docking was achieved with the arrival of SpaceX CRS-21 on 7 December 2020.[19]



  1. ^ a b c Coppinger, Rob (4 January 2008). "NASA develops new docking system for Constellation". London: Flightglobal. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  2. ^ Klotz, Irene (18 June 2014). "Orion No Backup for Commercial Crew, Says Bolden". SpaceNews. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Recovery Act: United States On-orbit Segment Phase II Development of International Space Station Common Docking Adapter". SpaceRef. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Hatfield, Skip (17 November 2010). "NASA Docking System (NDS) Technical Integration Meeting" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e Siceloff, Steven (27 June 2015). "Docking Adapter Sets Stage for Commercial Crew Craft". Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA: NASA. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  6. ^ "SpaceX CRS-7 Mission Overview" (PDF). NASA. June 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  7. ^ "SpaceX Pre-Launch Briefing from NASA's Kennedy Space Center". NASA. 27 June 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Space Station Live: The ABCs of IDA (video)". NASA. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Hartman, Dan (23 July 2012). "International Space Station Program Status" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  10. ^ a b Hartman, Daniel (July 2014). "Status of the ISS USOS" (PDF). NASA Advisory Council HEOMD Committee. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  11. ^ a b Scimemi, Sam (4 November 2015). "HSF Transition from ISS to cis-lunar space and ISS Status" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  12. ^ a b Harwood, William (19 August 2016). "Spacewalkers attach docking adapter to space station for commercial vehicles". Spaceflight. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  13. ^ Foust, Jeff (28 June 2015). "Docking Adapter, Satellites, Student Experiments Lost In Dragon Failure". SpaceNews. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  14. ^ Jason Rhian (18 July 2016). "SpaceX Conducts Second Ground Landing After Launch Of CRS-9 Dragon To ISS". Spaceflight Insider.
  15. ^ Jeff Foust (3 March 2019). "Crew Dragon docks with ISS". SpaceNews. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  16. ^ Pietrobon, Steven (20 August 2018). "United States Commercial ELV Launch Manifest". Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  17. ^ Stephen Clark (1 May 2016). "Boeing borrows from inventory to speed docking adapter delivery". Spaceflight Now.
  18. ^ "Spacewalkers Complete Installation of Second Commercial Docking Port – Space Station". Archived from the original on 2 June 2020. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  19. ^ Seth Kurkowski (7 December 2020). "Two SpaceX spacecrafts docked to International Space Station as Dragon 2 joins Crew Dragon". Retrieved 27 January 2021.