Astronauts conducting spacewalk to prepare ISS for new solar arrays

Two astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have begun a spacewalk to continue the process of outfitting the orbiting laboratory with new sets of solar arrays.  US EVA-77 — the first US spacewalk to not involve an American — will see Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut and current ISS Commander Aki Hoshide and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet build a support bracket onto which a future solar array will be mounted. Background The ISS’s Solar Array Wings (SAWs) produce all the electrical power required by the station.  The first SAW, on the P6 truss, was launched on December 1, 2000 (UTC) on the STS-97 mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. In the intervening 21 years, expected degradation of the arrays means they produce less power than they did when they were first deployed.  The remaining SAWs for the ISS were delivered on three Space Shuttle missions: STS-115 in 2006 (P3/P4 truss), STS-117 in 2007 (S3/S4 truss), and STS-119 in 2009 (S6 truss). The decreasing power ability of the arrays came against a backdrop of increasing demand from the station’s ever-increasing user base. With a complete removal & replacement of the arrays not possible due…
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Astronauts conducting spacewalk to prepare ISS for new solar arrays

Updated: September 12, 2021 — 5:20 am