Science

Astronauts complete their second space walk in preparation for solar panel upgrades for the International Space Station

A couple of astronauts aboard the International Space Station have completed a difficult fitting of the struts that will carry new arrays of solar panels outside the International Space Station. The second spacewalk took place on March 5 and was required after the first spacewalk did not go as planned. Astronauts Kate Robins of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA spent six hours and 56 minutes working in space.

the husband They spend most of their time far from the heart of the International Space Station. The work took them to the station’s Portside site to upgrade their 4B and 2B solar panels. These panels have been installed on the International Space Station since 2007, when they were delivered by the space shuttle mission STS-97. Additional panels are being added to the space station because the original panels have deteriorated.

The ultimate goal is to add a new set of solar panels over the plant’s existing arrays to increase power levels by 20 to 30 percent. The new solar panels will be shipped to the International Space Station on a future SpaceX Dragon cargo mission. However, before these panels were delivered, the first step was to install the struts on the outside of the space station.

The spacewalk was challenging, requiring the astronauts to manually move the length of the station’s P6 hull. They had to carefully thread their ropes across the station components to avoid entanglement. Robins and NASA astronaut Victor Glover performed the first spacewalk that did not go as planned.

Part of the challenge came in the mission when Robbins struggled to secure the pre-assembled “upper triangle” supports in place. One of the four screws did not move smoothly, causing problems. In the end, the Mission Controller decided that only three screws were enough to hold the brace in place.

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