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The docking adapter was launched on a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft and arrived at the station July 20. It stands about 42 inches tall and is 63 inches in diameter on the inside. Sensors and other fittings ring the perimeter of the adapter and give it an overall diameter of about 94 inches. Spacecraft flying to the station will use the sensors on the IDA to track to and help the spacecraft's navigation system steer the spacecraft to a safe docking without astronaut involvement.
The adapter also represents the first on-orbit element built to the docking measurements that are standardized for all the spacecraft builders across the world. Its first users are expected to be the Boeing Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft now in development in partnership with NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Because the adapter is designed to an international standard, future spacecraft will be able to dock there, too.