Spacewalking astronauts attach brackets on ISS solar arrays ready for new ones

by | Mar 1, 2021 | International Space Station, NASA, space station

On the 28 February, spacewalking NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover made an extra vehicular activity (EVA) in order to add new structure to support new solar arrays which will begin to be installed later this year.  Solar cells degrade over time and so the existing station’s eight panels are being upgraded by the planned addition of six new blanket solar arrays which will effectively fit over the old ones.

Spacewalking astronauts Victor Glover and Kate Rubbins attach new structures on 28 February 2021 to allow ISS solar arrays to be upgraded. Courtesy: NASA TV

The Quest airlock was depressurized at 1101 GMT the hatch was opened at 1111 GMT. Astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover then began to assemble and install a strut structure 2B solar array mast canister on the P6 truss. This structure will support the new solar arrays upgrade to be installed in the future. The worlk mainly went well but issue was encountered with one of the fixing bolts which will require additional work on a later spacewalk. Glover then prepared part of the structure (the upper triangle) for the second solar array mast (P6/4A). This was left secured on the station’s power truss in readiness for the next space walk.

Rubins and Glover then returned to the Quest airlock, ending a seven-hour four-minute spacewalk. Airlock repressurization began around 1816 GMT.  Rubins and Japanese astronaut, Soichi Noguchi, plan the next spacewalk on 5 March.

David Todd contributed to this story

 

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