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The International Space Station will receive a power boost during a spacewalk on Saturday, as NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio install a solar array outside the floating lab.
The spacewalk will begin at 7:25 a.m. ET and will last approximately seven hours, with a live stream on NASA’s website.
During the event, Cassada will serve as non-vehicle crew member 1 and will wear a red striped suit, while Rubio will wear an unmarked white suit as non-vehicle crew member 2. The duo did their first spacewalk together in November. The team mounted a mounting bracket to the starboard side of the space station beam, against the backdrop of the spectacular view of Earth.
This hardware allows for the installation of more solar panels, called iROSA, to increase electrical power on the space station.
The first two solar arrays were installed outside the station in June 2021. The plan is to add a total of six iROSAs, which will likely increase the space station’s electricity production by more than 30% once all are operational.
On the 26th SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply mission, two more arrays were delivered to the space station on November 27. transported dwarf tomato seeds and other experiments to orbiting lab.
The strings were wrapped like a carpet and were 750 pounds (340 kilograms) and 10 feet (3 meters) wide.
During Saturday’s spacewalk, Cassada and Rubio will install a solar panel to increase capacity in one of the space station’s eight power channels, located in the starboard beam of the station.
After the array is opened and bolted by the astronauts, it will be approximately 63 feet (19 meters) long and 20 feet (6 meters) wide.
The spacewalk duo will also disconnect a cable to reactivate another power channel, which recently experienced an “unexpected trip” on November 26.
According to a statement from NASA, “By isolating a portion of the affected array, which is one of several damaged arrays, the goal is to restore 75% of the array’s functionality.”
Cassada and Rubio will embark on another spacewalk on Dec. 19 to install a second solar array on another power conduit located in the station’s gangway beam.
The original solar panels on the space station still work, but they’ve been powered there for over 20 years and show some signs of wear after prolonged exposure to the space environment. Series were originally conceived in the last 15 years.
Erosion can be caused by propellant plumes from both the station’s thrusters and engines. Micrometeorite debris with crew and cargo vehicles arriving and departing the station.
The new solar arrays are placed in front of the original ones. It’s a good test for the new solar arrays, as the same design will power parts of the planned Gateway lunar outpost, which will help people get back to the moon. NASA’s Artemis program.
The new series will have a similar 15-year life expectancy. However, as the deterioration in the original series is expected to be worse, the team will monitor the new series to test their actual lifetime as they can last longer.
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