After a nearly 8-month hold on extravehicular activities outside the International Space Station (ISS), NASA is resuming its spacewalks on Tuesday with plans to install new solar arrays. But that’s not the only spacewalk set to take place outside the ISS this week.
NASA Flight Engineers Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio will kick-off the space station maintenance work on Wednesday at 12 a.m. AEDT. On Thursday, a second spacewalk is planned. Two cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin are scheduled to exit the ISS at 1 a.m. AEDT to work outside Russia’s laboratory module.
During Tuesday’s spacewalk, Cassada and Rubio are set to spend about seven hours outside the ISS assembling a mounting bracket that will be used for the future installation of the Space Station Rollout Solar Array (iRosa), according to NASA. This will be the pair’s first time performing a spacewalk.
On Thursday, two Russian cosmonauts will exit the ISS to work on the outside of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. NASA’s coverage for Thursday’s spacewalk will begin at 1 a.m. AEDT.
The last spacewalk by Russia’s space agency took place in September when cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev ventured outside the ISS to continue the installation of Europe’s Robotic Arm. The pair’s first attempt at doing so ended prematurely due to a spacesuit battery glitch.
On the other hand, NASA’s last attempt at completing a spacewalk took place on March 23 when NASA astronaut Raja Chari and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer were installing hoses on a radiator beam valve module outside the space station. However, astronaut Maurer noted water and dampness inside his visor.
The pair were able to complete their spacewalk, but NASA later declared the incident as a “close-call” and immediately halted all upcoming spacewalks until the issue was investigated. The space agency recently decided to resume the extravehicular activity after wrapping up its investigations into the leaky spacesuit.
After giving spacewalks the green light, NASA immediately booked more. NASA’s next two spacewalks are scheduled to take place on Monday, November 28, and Thursday, December 1 to continue the installation of iRosa. The new solar arrays are designed to increase the space station’s power generation capability by 30%, increasing the station’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to up to 215 kilowatts, according to NASA.
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