Close

Two astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will perform a spacewalk four days after their last one on Sunday.

Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency will continue installing new solar array gear during the upcoming spacewalk as part of ongoing upgrades to the space station's power system.

The two spacewalkers and their assistants, NASA flight engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei, spent part of Thursday checking spacesuit components, organizing spacewalk tools, and communicating with Mission Control about the upcoming extravehicular activity (EVA), as spacewalks are officially known, according to NASA.

 Cosmonauts Prepare For the Arrival of Russian Module in the ISS After A Seven-Hour Spacewalk
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Maxim Suraev (out of frame), both Expedition 22 flight engineers, participate in a session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as maintenance and construction continue on the International Space Station. During the spacewalk, Kotov and Suraev prepared the Mini-Research Module 2 (MRM2), known as Poisk, for future Russian vehicle dockings. Suraev and NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams, commander, will be the first to use the new docking port when they relocate their Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft from the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module on Jan. 21. Earth's horizon and the blackness of space provide the backdrop for the scene.

Kimbrough had to return to the airlock about three hours into Wednesday's spacewalk after two concerns with his spacesuit surfaced. He was allowed to resume his job alongside Pesquet once these issues were resolved, as Science Times recently reported. Following the completion of the spacewalk, the American astronaut addressed the situation in a tweet that featured photographs taken during the operation on Wednesday.

 

The spacewalk on Sunday will be Kimbrough's eighth and Pesquet's fourth, and the fourth they've done together after two prior EVAs in 2017.

ISS' Solar Array Wings Lasts For Only 15 Years; iROSA Expected To Generate 20Kw Electricity

Space.com said ISS' eight legacy solar array wings, designed with a design life of 15 years, started reducing power generation. Hence, NASA had to add new solar arrays. Each of the new iROSAs can generate 20 kilowatts of electricity. The updated system will enhance the space station's electrical supply by 20% to 30% when utilized in conjunction with the still-exposed regions of the older, larger arrays.

The first pair of iROSAs was launched on SpaceX's CRS-22 Dragon cargo spacecraft, which arrived at the orbiting laboratory on June 5. They were provided by Deployable Space Systems (DSS) and readied for installation on the station by Boeing. Kimbrough and Pesquet worked to release the first iROSA from the pallet where it was temporarily housed and prepare the place where it would be installed after starting the spacewalk (extravehicular activity or EVA) at 8:11 a.m. EDT (1211 GMT).

ALSO READ: SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Seen Bringing 7300-Pound Crew Supplies to ISS in Daytime [WATCH]


The iROSAs will serve as a test for a similar set of roll-out solar arrays to be utilized at NASA's Artemis Gateway in orbit around the moon, in addition to ensuring the space station has enough power to fulfill its future needs, including increasing commercial activities. The ROSAs on the Gateway will be longer and deployed remotely, without astronauts present, but will otherwise be identical to the iROSAs on the station.

How to Watch Spacewalk

Coverage of the next spacewalk will begin at 6:30 a.m. ET (3:30 a.m. PT) on Sunday, June 20.

The astronauts' final preparations will be seen on the webcast before they leave the ISS at roughly 8 a.m. ET (5 a.m. PT). The spacewalk will last between six to seven hours.

The live stream can be viewed by using the play button on the video player below this page. The same broadcast will be available on NASA's website.

An array of cameras, some of which are linked to the astronauts themselves, will feed real-time footage. A live commentary will accompany the telecast, explaining what is happening at each stage. You'll also be able to hear the astronauts' and Mission Control's audio feeds.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: Seven-Hour Spacewalk of Two Cosmonauts Part of ISS Preparation for Arrival of New Russian Module

Check out more news and information on Space on Science Times.