Astronauts install new rollout solar panels on International Space Station

Jun 18, 2021 02:32 PM ET
  • Astronauts Thomas Pesquet of France and also Shane Kimbrough of the USA spacewalked outside the International Space Station on Wednesday as they started the painstaking process of installing brand-new solar panels to boost the orbital station's deteriorating power systems.
Astronauts install new rollout solar panels on International Space Station

It was the first of a number of trips to boost the ISS's existing 8 solar arrays, with the initial set operating continually because December 2000.

The spacewalking duo were setting up the very first of six new rollout panels-- however troubles with screen as well as controls on Kimbrough's spacesuit required him to go back to the station to reset his systems.

The moment shed indicated they were just able to steer the panel into placement, however not able to set up the cabling as well as bolts required to finish the procedure throughout Wednesday's spacewalk of 7 hrs as well as 15 mins.

They may pick up the work Sunday, but the last strategy is being worked out.

The spacewalks "are mosting likely to be extremely challenging, very complicated, so we have actually got to make sure that we're both on the very same web page for every motion that we do," Kimbrough claimed ahead of leaving the airlock Wednesday early morning.

Part of the setup procedure needs to be accomplished while the ISS remains in the Earth's shadow, when the terminal is operating on battery power.

The combination of the original selections as well as 6 more recent and smaller sized selections that are a lot more effective will enhance power by 20 to 30 percent.

"With each other in combination they produce even more power than what our original variety when it was brand-new did on its own," Dana Weigel, deputy supervisor of the International Space Station program stated.

When the goal is total, the ISS will be back to running at 215 kilowatts. For contrast, a home computer and also display runs at around 270 watts, and a tiny refrigerator utilizes concerning 725 watts.

The new arrays can be rolled out like yoga mats as well as are smaller as well as lighter than standard solar panels.

NASA intends to progress with the innovation for the Artemis objective to return to the Moon, and also comparable panels will likely be used on a future lunar terminal called Gateway.

It was Pesquet's 3rd spacewalk and Kimbrough's 7th.