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.
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.
Space is hard. Yesterday on our spacewalk, we encountered several issues that the entire team worked through incredibly well. @Thom_astro took these photos and led us beautifully through a very challenging day. pic.twitter.com/GMKBjHx2cT— Shane Kimbrough (@astro_kimbrough) June 17, 2021
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).
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.
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