SpaceX launched Crew-2 astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the previously-flown Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft on April 23. Crew-2 is SpaceX’s third flight and the second operational mission out of six under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Crew-2 NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency (ESA) – arrived to the orbiting laboratory on April 24th, initiating their six-month Expedition 65 mission. The astronauts will conduct dozens of scientific experiments, research, and spacewalks to upgrade the Space Station’s power system.
“NASA is augmenting six of the eight existing power channels of the space station with new solar arrays to ensure a sufficient power supply is maintained for NASA’s exploration technology demonstrations for Artemis and beyond as well as utilization and commercialization,” the agency said. NASA flight engineer Shane Kimbrough and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet performed the first spacewalk on Wednesday, June 16, and encountered some issues as they worked in orbit. Kimbrough and Pesquet suited up at 8:11 a.m. EDT to begin the spacewalk that lasted 7 hours and 15 minutes. It is the third spacewalk Kimbrough and Pesquet have conducted together throughout their astronaut career. This was the seventh spacewalk for Kimbrough and the third for Pesquet.
#ICYMI: Highlights from today's spacewalk show @Astro_Kimbrough and @Thom_Astro preparing to install new solar arrays to augment the space station's power system. pic.twitter.com/z58SNJSKhN— International Space Station (@Space_Station) June 17, 2021
Early Wednesday morning, Kimbrough and Pesquet exited the Space Station to install the first ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs) to upgrade the station’s power channels. They installed the first array on the far end of the left (port) side of the station’s backbone truss structure (P6) to upgrade the 2B power channel. “On Sunday, June 20, the duo will install the second solar array to upgrade the 4B power channel on the P6 truss,” the agency stated. About three hours into Wednesday’s spacewalk, NASA Kimbrough encountered some issues with his spacesuit. He spacewalked back to the ISS Quest airlock to reconnect his spacesuit to an umbilical connection and restarted it. “The reset corrected the issues with his spacesuit’s display and controls module that provides him information about the status of his spacesuit,” NASA said. The issue caused a spike in pressure in the ‘sublimator’ which provides cooling for his spacesuit. After he restarted his spacesuit, Kimbrough returned to work with Pesquet to install iROSA.
🙌 That’s a wrap! @Astro_Kimbrough & @Thom_Astro laid the groundwork for installation of the 1st pair of ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays & head back into the @Space_Station.— NASA (@NASA) June 16, 2021
Join us on June 20 at 6:30am ET (10:30 UT) for the duo's 2nd spacewalk to continue installing the new arrays: pic.twitter.com/4XIiV8BRTV
The astronauts only laid the groundwork for the iROSA installation and could not finish installing the solar arrays because when they placed iROSA onto the mounting bracket and attempted to unfold it, it could not be unfolded because another structure blocked its deployment. “Before the new array can be deployed and begin providing power to the orbiting laboratory, spacewalkers will need to install the electrical cables and drive the final two bolts to enable the solar array to unfurl its fully deployed position. Pesquet and Kimbrough are scheduled for another spacewalk coming up on Sunday, June 20 to continue the installation of new solar arrays,” NASA said in a press release after the spacewalk. You can watch the upcoming spacewalk this weekend in the video below, courtesy of NASA TV.
NASA TV Schedule June 20, Sunday 6:30 a.m. EDT – Coverage of International Space Station Expedition 65 U.S. spacewalk # 75 to install the second IROSA solar array on the P6 Truss for the 4B Channel Power System; spacewalk scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. EDT and will last 6 ½ hours with Pesquet and Kimbrough.
WATCH IT LIVE!
All Images Source: NASA
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.