NASA TV Broadcasts Solar Array Spacewalk on Sunday

Spacewalkers (from left) Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet work to install new roll out solar arrays on the International Space Station's P-6 truss structure.
Spacewalkers (from left) Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet work to install new roll out solar arrays on the International Space Station’s P-6 truss structure.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet are scheduled to exit the International Space Station’s Quest airlock Sunday for a spacewalk to continue installation and deployment of the first of six total new solar arrays to help power the orbiting laboratory. The duo installed the solar array into its mounting bracket during a June 16 spacewalk.

Live coverage of the spacewalk will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app beginning June 20 at 6:30 a.m. EDT, with the crew members scheduled to set their spacesuits to battery power about 8 a.m., signifying the start of their spacewalk.

During the planned six-and-a-half hour spacewalk, Kimbrough and Pesquet will work on the far end of the left (port) side of the station’s backbone truss structure (P6) to deploy, or unroll, the first of two ISS Roll Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs) that will augment power capability for the port 6 truss’ 2B power channel.

Two of the six new solar arrays recently arrived as part of SpaceX’s 22nd commercial resupply services mission to the station. During the June 16 spacewalk, Kimbrough and Pesquet began installing the first of the two, but were unable to fully deploy the solar array due to a structural interference with a mounting bracket. The array was securely fastened to the flight support structure.

Before the new array can be deployed and begin providing power to the orbiting laboratory, the two will need to install the electrical cables and drive the final two bolts to enable the solar array to unroll it into its fully laid-out position. If deployment is completed Sunday, the pair may be scheduled for a third spacewalk to begin work to prepare the second new solar array – this one on P6 truss’ 4B power channel – for installation and deployment.

The new solar arrays will augment the existing arrays, which are functioning well but have begun to show signs of expected degradation as they have operated beyond their designed 15-year service life. The first pair of solar arrays were deployed in December 2000 and have been powering the station for more than 20 years.

This will be the 240th spacewalk in support of space station assembly. Pesquet will be extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), with red stripes on his spacesuit, while Kimbrough will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2) in an unmarked suit.

This will be the eighth spacewalk for Kimbrough, and the fourth for Pesquet. Both astronauts arrived at the space station April 24 with NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour. The two are slated for a for a six-month science mission.

Watch a video providing status update on space station activities, and learn more about the orbiting laboratory by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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