Two astronauts will conduct a spacewalk Wednesday beginning the installation of the International Space Station’s new upgraded power source in the form of two solar arrays that roll out like carpets.
European Space Agency’s Thomas Pesquet and NASA’s Shane Kimbrough will suit up around 6:30 a.m. and exit the space station airlock at 8 a.m., beginning their six-hour long extravehicular activity, or EVA. Pesquet will be wearing the spacesuit with the red stripes and Kimbrough will be wearing the unmarked suit.
The pair will be installing the first of two new ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays, or iROSAs, that arrived last week via SpaceX cargo delivery. The space station’s robotic Canadarm2 grabbed the rolled-up arrays from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon trunk on June 10 and has been holding them until the pair can be installed.
The two arrays were built by Jacksonville-based Redwire Space with Boeing solar cell technology. The blanket-like arrays are much smaller than the space station’s current arrays –but more powerful with new technology– and will eventually provide 120 kilowatts, or 120,000 watts, of power during the daylight hours.
Currently, the ISS has eight solar arrays generating about 160 kilowatts of power total but it’s been more than 20 years since the first solar arrays were installed on the ISS and even with upgrades, solar cells degrade over time.
The new solar arrays are essentially large blankets with more than 9,000 solar cells on each one attached to carbon composite boom arms. The massive arrays are rolled up to launch in the Dragon cargo spacecraft and then, through two spacewalks, will be installed outside the ISS.
This is IROSA, the rolled-up solar array that we’ll go out and install tomorrow. It looked beautiful as it was moved into position by ground controllers with the @Space_Station‘s robotic arm 🦾. The teams are ready and the equipment is ready. EVA day is always a great day! 🤘 pic.twitter.com/l3DYs7QKCn
— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) June 15, 2021
Rick Golden, Boeing project manager, explained in a recent interview with News 6 that the way the arrays are rolled up it looks like a big carpet, and the arrays can be deployed in minutes, immediately ready to start turning sunlight into energy.
The astronauts will pull out the four flight release bolts in orbit and then the arrays unfurl in space.
“It just pulls it out, and it is powerless. There’s no telemetry to it, it’s a very simplistic approach. And then once it’s out, the sunlight will hit the PV (solar cells) and they’ll start generating power,” Golden explained.
The spacewalk will air on NASA TV and NASA.gov. You can watch live at the top of this story beginning around 6 a.m. Wednesday.
The astronauts will conduct a second spacewalk on June 20 to complete the installation of the two arrays but the full power upgrade will consist of six iROSAs launching on supply runs to the ISS two at a time. The next pair of iROSAs will launch in spring 2022 and about a year later the final two will go up.
Use the form below to sign up for the ClickOrlando.com space newsletter, sent every Wednesday afternoon.
Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.
This Article firstly Publish on www.clickorlando.com