NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio walked outside the International Space Station on Saturday for a seven-hour spacewalk to install and deploy a new roll-out solar instrument recently delivered by a SpaceX cargo ship.
Cassada and Rubio, both in early space flights, began their spacewalk at 7:16 am EST (1216 GMT) on Saturday. The start of the excursion was officially marked when the astronauts changed their space to battle force.
Astronauts moved from the station’s airlock to starboard, or the right side of the solar power lab truss, where the station’s robotic arm placed two of the new ISS Solar Roll-Out Array, or iROSA, units that were pulled from them earlier this week. the trunk of a SpaceX dragon ship capsule. Draco delivered the solar boat to the space station on November 27, along with several tons of supplies and experiments.
The new solar array is wrapped around the spools and like a yoga mat is once installed to a mounting bracket on the starboard 4, or S4, section of the space station’s power truss, which measures more than the length of a football field from end-to-end. to the end.
Initially, the astronauts worked by removing one of the two newly delivered iROSA units from its carrier to fire bolts and throw bits. Cassada put his foot on the end of the Canadian-built robotic arm and held the solar spools in his hand as the arm moved him to the S4 truss.
Two space walkers placed the iROSA unit into a pre-positioned mounting bracket across the front of the space walker. They deployed the IROSA unit on the hinge, then installed bolts to hold it in place. Cassada and Rubio connect electrical connectors to connect the new iROSA unit to the space’s electrical system. They then placed the Y cable through the power paths generated by both the new solar array and the original S4 solar panels in the lab power grid.
The mounting bracket mounts new gear into the rotary power channels and joints that keep the solar panels pointed at the sun as the space shuttle orbits Earth at more than 17,000 mph.
The International Space Station has eight power channels, each fed with electrical power generated from a single array of solar wings extending from the station’s backbone. Saturn’s new solar array has developed an electricity array for the 3A power space channel.
The original solar panels were launched on four space missions from 2000 to 2009. As expected, the efficiency of the station’s original solar array degraded over time. NASA is expanding the station’s power space with a new roll-out solar array — $103 million — that will partially cover six of the station’s eight original solar panels.
When all six iROSA units are deployed on the station, the power system will be capable of generating 215 kilowatts of electricity to support at least another decade of science operations. The expansion will also accommodate the new commercial modules that are planned to be sent to the space station.
The first pair of new roll-out solar arrays launched to the space station last year, the station’s oldest set of original solar panels were placed in the P6 truss section, located at the far end of the station’s power truss. Two more iROSA units are expected to launch next year on SpaceX’s retrieving mission.
NASA’s new solar arrays are being supplied by Boeing, Redwire and joint subcontractors.
Once the new iROSA unit was mechanically and electrically integrated into the station’s S4 truss, the astronauts deployed the release clips securing the solar array’s volume to its launch configuration. That allowed the blankets to roll back and forth using tension energy on the composite oars supporting the solar panels. The deployment mechanism design eliminates the need for motors to drive the solar array.
“Starting to move,” one of the astronauts radioed the mission control, prompting applause among the crew in Houston.
“It’s incredible,” Cassada said. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” the blond cymbals.
Carbon fiber support booms against the natural shape of the wheels in the launch for storage.
It took the solar array about 10 minutes to roll to its fully extended shape, stretching about 63 feet long and 20 feet wide (19-by-6 meters). That is roughly half the length and half the width of the current solar array. Despite their smaller size, each of the new clothes generates about as much electricity as each of the existing solar panels of the station.
After deploying the blanket, the astronauts adjusted the tension locks to secure the iROSA blanket in place.
Then the astronauts ran back on board in the space truss to the iROSA unit, which will be installed on the left side of the P4 truss section in the spacewalk tentatively scheduled for Dec. 19.
With their tasks complete, Cassada and Rubio made their way to find the airlock and closed it. They began checking the airlock compartment at 2:21 pm EST (1921 GMT), completing the 7-5 hour period.
Saturn’s spacewalk was the second in the careers of Cassada and Rubio, and the 256th spacewalk since 1998 in support of the International Space Station and its maintenance.
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