Spacewalkers begin prepping space station for new solar arrays – SpaceFlight Insider

NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, top, and Victor Glover work to assemble a truss-like structure that will hold a set of new solar arrays in the near future. Credit: NASA

NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, prime, and Victor Glover work to assemble a truss-like construction that can maintain a set of latest photo voltaic arrays within the close to future. Credit score: NASA

Expedition 64 flight engineers and NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover ventured outdoors the Worldwide Area Station for the primary of two spacewalks to prepared the outpost for brand new photo voltaic arrays later this 12 months.

The seven hour extravehicular exercise concerned the duo assembling constructions on the far port-side photo voltaic array mast canisters the place a pair of latest roll-out solar arrays are anticipated to be connected after their supply later this 12 months. The work is predicted to be accomplished throughout one other outing later this week.

Known as U.S. EVA-71, the outing formally began at 6:12 a.m. EST (11:12 UTC) Feb. 28, 2021, when the suited-up astronauts, having already depressurized the Quest airlock and opened the outer hatch, switched their fits to battery energy.

Rubins was the lead spacewalker, EV 1, and wore the go well with with stripes whereas Glover wore the go well with with no stripes and was designated EV 2.

As soon as outdoors the 2 traversed to the P6 truss phase on the far left facet of the ISS.

The location of the six iROSA solar arrays that are expected to be installed over the next year or so. Credit: NASA

The situation of the six iROSA photo voltaic arrays which are anticipated to be put in over the subsequent 12 months or so. Credit score: NASA

Augmenting older photo voltaic array wings

P6 included the primary set of main photo voltaic arrays to be delivered to the outpost. It was initially put in on the Z1 truss for the primary six years of its orbital life earlier than being moved to the port facet of the P5 truss after it was delivered to the outpost.

All through the 2000s, a complete of 4 pairs of photo voltaic arrays wings have been delivered to the outpost by way of a number of area shuttle missions. However since they have been initially designed for a 15 12 months lifespan, these on the P6 truss particularly are starting to point out indicators of anticipated degradation.

As such, NASA engineers have designed six new roll-out arrays primarily based on the Roll-Out Photo voltaic Array, or ROSA, know-how demonstration on the ISS a number of years in the past.

Whereas the brand new iROSAs will likely be smaller than the prevailing array wings, they’re extra highly effective with fashionable photo voltaic know-how.

They’ll be delivered to the ISS in pairs over three cargo Dragon missions starting with the CRS-22 mission as early as late spring 2021.

These arrays will likely be put in on help constructions that have to be assembled by spacewalking astronauts starting with U.S. EVA-71.

A view of the iROSA solar array during ground testing. Credit: Deployable Space Systems

A view of the iROSA photo voltaic array throughout floor testing. Credit score: Deployable Area Programs

Putting in the modification equipment

As soon as the pair made it to their work web site, Glover started assembling a bracket construction whereas Rubins connected it and help struts to the 2B mast canister.

In response to NASA, one bolt didn’t totally have interaction on the primary try, requiring Rubins to make use of her Pistol Grip Software, basically a space-grade energy drill, to again the bolt out and reseat it. Finally, she used a ratchet wrench to tighten it right into a protected situation.

Nonetheless, this can have to be secured additional earlier than the primary iROSA is put in.

As soon as completed, work started on the 4B mast canister. Earlier than the tip of the spacewalk, Rubins and Glover completed the higher help and secured it to the outside construction of the outpost.

NASA managers anticipate each constructions on the P6 truss mast canisters will likely be accomplished by the subsequent spacewalk, presently scheduled for March 5.

The modification kit where the iROSA will be mounted. Credit: NASA

The modification equipment the place the iROSA will likely be mounted. Credit score: NASA

courtesy of Raffaele Di Palma

Growing the ability of the ISS

When all six iROSAs are installed over the subsequent 12 months or so, NASA anticipates the accessible energy on the outpost to extend from about 160 kilowatt hours to as much as 215 kilowatt hours.

Finally, that is anticipated to make sure the ISS has sufficient energy for not solely future utilization, however for know-how demonstrations for the Artemis Moon program and business utilization, the company stated.

As soon as all the work was completed for U.S. EVA-71, Rubins and Glover made their manner again to the airlock, closed the hatch and started repressurizing the compartment, officially ending the spacewalk at 1:16 p.m. EST (18:16 UTC).

Right this moment’s outing was the third spacewalk of 2021 and lasted 7 hours and four minutes. It was the third outing for each Glover and Rubins.

Rubins’ cumulative profession whole now stands at 19 hours, 50 minutes. Glover’s whole is now 19 hours, 20 minutes.

Since meeting and upkeep of the ISS started in 1998, there have been 235 spacewalks totaling 61 days, 14 hours and 11 minutes of time spent outdoors the outpost.

Video of spacewalk animation courtesy of NASA


Derek Richardson has a level in mass media, with an emphasis in up to date journalism, from Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas. Whereas at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the coed run newspaper, the Washburn Assessment. He additionally has a weblog in regards to the Worldwide Area Station, known as Orbital Velocity.



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