3D VR Cam Stowed During Eye Checks on Station

Russia's Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module are pictured 264 miles above the city lights of eastern Europe.
Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module are pictured 264 miles above the city lights of eastern Europe.

A 3D virtual reality camera that filmed Sunday’s spacewalk has been returned to the inside of the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the Expedition 65 continued its space biology research and lab maintenance activities on Thursday.

A specialized video camera that filmed Sunday’s spacewalk in immersive virtual reality was grappled by the Canadarm2 robotic arm and placed on a pallet outside of the Kibo laboratory module. The camera was retracted into Kibo’s airlock Thursday morning where ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet retrieved and stowed it. The cinematic videos are part of a research program called ISS (international Space Station) Experience and are downlinked to Earth to excite and bring gravity-bound audiences closer to space.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei was the crew medical officer again on Thursday, this time scanning the eyes of Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov with an ultrasound device. Afterward, Vande Hei set up optical coherence tomography gear and imaged Dubrov’s retinas. Eye health is critical during long term space missions as doctors continue exploring how microgravity affects vision.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration (JAXA) spent Thursday morning setting up computers and cables before reconfiguring the Cell Biology Experiment Facility for upcoming research. In the afternoon, Hoshide installed a light on a spacesuit helmet then worked on transfers from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship.

Ensuring the station remains in tip-top shape, NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur worked on life support hardware in the U.S. segment of the orbiting lab. Kimbrough installed a new carbon dioxide remover in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. McArthur replaced components inside the Tranquility module’s oxygen generator.

Dubrov and Pesquet tested hardware installed in the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module that will soon communicate with and control the European robotic arm. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy spent the day servicing orbital plumbing gear in the station’s Russian segment.

Crew Turns Attention to Research Following Trio of Spacewalks

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) works on the Ring-Sheared Drop experiment inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module's Microgravity Science Glovebox.
Astronaut Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) works on the Ring-Sheared Drop experiment inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module’s Microgravity Science Glovebox.

The Expedition 65 crew is back on microgravity research aboard the International Space Station today after kicking off September with three spacewalks in less than two weeks.

International astronauts Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet relaxed Monday morning following their six-hour and 54-minute spacewalk on Sunday to install a modification kit on the station’s Port-4 (P4) truss structure. The Commander from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) then joined the ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer for standard health checks that take place after the strenuous spacewalks.

Afterward, Hoshide swabbed and collected microbe samples from station surfaces for incubation and analysis back on Earth. Pesquet also collected microbe samples from the station’s atmosphere for observation on petri dishes.

NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur both relaxed on Monday morning having assisted spacewalkers Hoshide and Pesquet throughout the day on Sunday. Vande Hei then moved on and swapped and cleaned components for the ACE-T-11 physics study that is exploring space manufacturing techniques. McArthur replaced fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack and later cleaned up debris in the orbiting lab’s Plant Habitat housing Hatch Green chiles growing for the Plant Habitat-04 space crop experiment.

Working throughout Monday inside the Kibo laboratory module, NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough began setting up hardware and trained for the newest rodent research experiment. Mice, delivered on the recent SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission, will soon be observed inside Kibo’s Life Science Glovebox to understand how microgravity affects the healing process.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov continue cleaning up in the station’s Russian segment following their spacewalks on Sept. 3 and Sept. 9 to configure the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for science operations. The duo from Roscosmos also had time for life support maintenance and cargo transfers from the Progress 78 resupply ship today.

Cosmonauts Conclude First Spacewalk To Ready New Module

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov during a spacewalk to connect power and ethernet cables to the Nauka laboratory module.
Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov during a spacewalk to connect power and ethernet cables to the Nauka laboratory module.

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos concluded their spacewalk at 6:35 p.m. EDT after 7 hours and 54 minutes. It is the first of up to 11 spacewalks to prepare the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for operations in space.

Novitskiy and Dubrov completed the major objective for today to connect power cables between the recently arrived Nauka module and the Zarya module to enable the routing of electricity from the U.S. segment of the station to Nauka. Checkouts of the two electrical power cable systems from Zarya to Nauka were successful. They also partially installed one new handrail.

Tasks deferred to a future spacewalk are to install two additional handrails to enable spacewalkers to maneuver to and about Nauka more easily, make the final connection for the ethernet cable the duo partially routed today, deploy a science investigation, jettison the ethernet cable reel following the completion of the connection, and take imagery of the Russian segment of the station.

The duo will continue work during a second spacewalk on Thursday, Sept. 9; coverage on NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the spacewalk expected to begin about 11 a.m. and last about five hours.

This was the 10th spacewalk this year and the 242nd overall in support of space station assembly, maintenance and upgrades. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 63 days, 15 hours, and 35 minutes working outside the station.

It is the second spacewalk for both cosmonauts, both of whom have now spent a total of 15 hours and 13 minutes spacewalking.

In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed its 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique research and technological demonstrations that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars and also improve life on Earth. In that time, 244 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Two Cosmonauts Exit Station for Spacewalk

Cosmonauts (from left) Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are conducting their second spacewalk together.
Cosmonauts (from left) Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are conducting their second spacewalk together.

Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos began a spacewalk to prepare the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for operations in space when they opened the hatch of the Poisk docking compartment airlock of the International Space Station at 10:41 a.m. EDT.

Novitskiy, designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1), is wearing a Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes, and Dubrov is wearing a spacesuit with blue stripes as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2).

Coverage of the spacewalk continues on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. Views from a camera on Novitskiy’s helmet are designated with the number 22, and Dubrov’s is labeled with the number 20.

The duo’s primary tasks for today’s spacewalk are to connect power and ethernet cables to the new module and install handrails to enable spacewalkers to maneuver to and about its exterior more easily.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Coverage of Spacewalk is Underway

Cosmonauts (from left) Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are conducting their second spacewalk together.
Cosmonauts (from left) Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are conducting their second spacewalk together.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos is now underway and is also available on the NASA app and the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 65 are preparing to exit the International Space Station‘s Poisk module on the space-facing side of the station’s Russian segment for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 10:35 a.m. EDT and last as long as seven hours.

It will be the first of up to 11 spacewalks to prepare the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for operations in space. Watch a video animation preview of today’s spacewalk and planned activities at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfacX6864b4

During the spacewalk today and subsequent spacewalk planned for Sept. 9, the cosmonauts will install handrails on Nauka and connect power, ethernet, and data cables between the recently arrived module and the Zvezda service module. Nauka launched on a Russian Proton-M rocket July 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and docked autonomously to the Earth-facing Zvezda port July 29.

This will be the second spacewalk for both Novitskiy and Dubrov; the 242nd spacewalk in support of space station assembly, maintenance and upgrades; and the 10th and spacewalk at the station in 2021.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

SpaceX Cargo Dragon Successfully Docks to Station

Aug. 30, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragon vehicles; and Russia's Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.
Aug. 30, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragon vehicles; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.

While the International Space Station was traveling about 260 miles over the Western Australia, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft autonomously docked to the forward-facing port of the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module at 10:30 a.m. EDT, Monday, Aug. 30. Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA monitored operations.

Among the science experiments Dragon is delivering to the space station are:

Building bone with byproducts
REducing Arthritis Dependent Inflammation First Phase (READI FP) evaluates the effects of microgravity and space radiation on the growth of bone tissue and tests whether bioactive metabolites, which include substances such as antioxidants formed when food is broken down, might protect bones during spaceflight. The metabolites that will be tested come from plant extracts generated as waste products in wine production. Protecting the health of crew members from the effects of microgravity is crucial for the success of future long-duration space missions. This study could improve scientists’ understanding of the physical changes that cause bone loss and identify potential countermeasures. This insight also could contribute to prevention and treatment of bone loss on Earth, particularly in post-menopausal women.

Keeping an eye on eyes
Retinal Diagnostics tests whether a small, light-based device can capture images of the retinas of astronauts to document progression of vision problems known as Space-Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome (SANS). The device uses a commercially available lens approved for routine clinical use and is lightweight, mobile, and noninvasive. The videos and images will be downlinked to test and train models for detecting common signs of SANS in astronauts. The investigation is sponsored by ESA (European Space Agency) with the German Aerospace Center Institute of Space Medicine and European Astronaut Centre.

Robotic helpers
The Nanoracks-GITAI Robotic Arm will demonstrate the microgravity versatility and dexterity of a robot designed by GITAI Japan Inc. Results could support development of robotic labor to support crew activities and tasks, as well as inform servicing, assembly, and manufacturing tasks while in orbit. Robotic support could lower costs and improve crew safety by having robots take on tasks that could expose crew members to hazards. The technology also has applications in extreme and potentially dangerous environments on Earth, including disaster relief, deep-sea excavation, and servicing nuclear power plants. The experiment will be conducted inside the Nanoracks Bishop Airlockthe space station’s first commercial airlock.

Putting materials to the test
MISSE-15 NASA is one of a series of investigations on Alpha Space’s Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility, which is testing how the space environment affects the performance and durability of specific materials and components. These tests provide insights that support development of better materials needed for space exploration. Testing materials in space has the potential to significantly speed up their development. Materials capable of standing up to space also have potential applications in harsh environments on Earth and for improved radiation protection, better solar cells, and more durable concrete.

Helping plants deal with stress
Plants grown under microgravity conditions typically display evidence of stress.  Advanced Plant EXperiment-08 (APEX-08) examines the role of compounds known as polyamines in the response of the small, flowering plant thale cress to microgravity stress. Because expression of the genes involved in polyamine metabolism remain the same in space as on the ground, plants do not appear to use polyamines to respond to stress in microgravity. APEX-08 attempts to engineer a way for them to do so. Results could help identify key targets for genetic engineering of plants more suited to microgravity.

Easier drug delivery
The Faraday Research Facility is a multipurpose unit that uses the space station’s EXPRESS payload rack systems, which enable quick, simple integration of multiple payloads . On this first flight, the facility hosts a Houston Methodist Research Institute experiment and two STEM collaborations, including “Making Space for Girls” with the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council in Orlando, Florida.

The Faraday Nanofluidic Implant Communication Experiment  (Faraday-NICE) tests an implantable, remote-controlled drug delivery system using sealed containers of saline solution as surrogate test subjects. The device could provide an alternative to bulky, cumbersome infusion pumps, a possible game changer for long-term management of chronic conditions on Earth. Remote-controlled drug delivery could simplify administration for people with limitations.

partnership between Faraday and Girls Scouts allows troops to play a role in conducting the control experiments, including providing them with images of the same experiments that are happening in space. The studies involve plant growth, ant colonization, and the brine shrimp lifecycle.

These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations currently being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory in the areas of biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, and Earth and space science. Advances in these areas will help keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars through Artemis.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the crew living in space by following, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Cygnus Arrival and Hatch Open Complete

The Cygnus space freighter attached to the station robotic arm following a day-and-a-half trip after its launch from Virginia. Credit: NASA TV
The Cygnus space freighter attached to the station robotic arm following a day-and-a-half trip after its launch from Virginia. Credit: NASA TV

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft’s hatch was opened this afternoon after successful rendezvous and berthing operations. At 6:07 a.m. EDT, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur used the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2 to grapple the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet monitored Cygnus systems during its approach. Cygnus was then bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 9:42 a.m. EDT. Cygnus will remain at the space station for about three months until the spacecraft departs in November.

The spacecraft’s arrival brings more than 8,200 pounds of research and supplies to space station. Highlights of cargo aboard Cygnus include research studying 3D printing using simulated lunar regolith, seeking to utilize microgravity to develop new means to treat a degenerative muscle condition on Earth, investigating new tactics to control heat during operations in space and during the intense heating of reentry, and testing a technology to remove carbon dioxide from spacecraft atmospheres with applications to future NASA exploration missions.

These are just a sample of the hundreds of investigations currently being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory in the areas of biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, and Earth and space science. Advances in these areas will help keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions as part of NASA’s Moon and Mars exploration approach, including lunar missions through NASA’s Artemis program.

NASA has continued to assess any integrated impacts to the space station from the inadvertent firing of thrusters on the newly arrived Russian Nauka module. Routine operations have continued uninterrupted since the event, with the space station prepared for the arrival of multiple spacecraft. Consistent with NASA policies, an investigation team is being formed to review the activity. NASA’s team will begin with identifying team members and defining the scope of the investigation. The team will focus on analyzing available data, cooperating with our Russian colleagues for any information they require for their assessment, and coordinating with the other international partners.

Cygnus Installed on Unity Module for Cargo Transfers

Aug. 12, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter, the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Russia's Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.
Aug. 12, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter, the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 9:42 a.m. EDT. Cygnus will remain at the space station for about three months until the spacecraft departs in November.

The spacecraft’s arrival brings more than 8,200 pounds of research and supplies to space station. Highlights of cargo aboard Cygnus include:

 From dust to dorm
Using resources available on the Moon and Mars to build structures and habitats could reduce how much material future explorers need to bring from Earth, significantly reducing launch mass and cost. The Redwire Regolith Print (RRP) study demonstrates 3D printing on the space station using a material simulating regolith, or loose rock and soil found on the surfaces of planetary bodies such as the Moon. Results could help determine the feasibility of using regolith as the raw material and 3D printing as a technique for on-demand construction of habitats and other structures on future space exploration missions.

Maintaining muscles
As people age and become more sedentary on Earth, they gradually lose muscle mass, a condition called sarcopenia. Identifying drugs to treat this condition is difficult because it develops over decades. Cardinal Muscle tests whether microgravity can be used as a research tool for understanding and preventing sarcopenia. The study seeks to determine whether an engineered tissue platform in microgravity forms the characteristic muscle tubes found in muscle tissue. Such a platform could provide a way to rapidly assess potential drugs prior to clinical trials.

Taking the heat out of space travel
Longer space missions will need to generate more power, producing more heat that must be dissipated. Transitioning from current single-phase heat transfer systems to two-phase thermal management systems reduces size and weight of the system and provides more efficient heat removal. Because greater heat energy is exchanged through vaporization and condensation, a two-phase system can remove more heat for the same amount of weight than current single-phase systems. The Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment (FBCE) aims to develop a facility for collecting data about two-phase flow and heat transfer in microgravity. Comparisons of data from microgravity and Earth’s gravity are needed to validate numerical simulation tools for designing thermal management systems.

Cooler re-entries
The Kentucky Re-Entry Probe Experiment (KREPE) demonstrates an affordable thermal protection system (TPS) to protect spacecraft and their contents during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Making these systems efficient remains one of space exploration’s biggest challenges, but the unique environment of atmospheric entry makes it difficult to accurately replicate conditions in ground simulations. TPS designers rely on numerical models that often lack flight validation. This investigation serves as an inexpensive way to compare these models to actual flight data and validate possible designs. Before flying the technology on the space station, researchers conducted a high-altitude balloon test to validate performance of the electronics and communications.

Getting the CO2 out
Four Bed CO2 Scrubber demonstrates a technology to remove carbon dioxide from a spacecraft. Based on the current system and lessons learned from its nearly 20 years of operation, the Four Bed CO2 Scrubber includes mechanical upgrades and an improved, longer-lasting absorbent material that reduces erosion and dust formation. Absorption beds remove water vapor and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, returning water vapor to the cabin and venting carbon dioxide overboard or diverting it to a system that uses it to produce water. This technology could improve the reliability and performance of carbon dioxide removal systems in future spacecraft, helping to maintain the health of crews and ensure mission success. It has potential applications on Earth in closed environments that require carbon dioxide removal to protect workers and equipment.

Mold in microgravity
An ESA investigation, Blob, allows students aged 10 to 18 to study a naturally-occurring slime mold, Physarum polycephalum, that is capable of basic forms of learning and adaptation. Although it is just one cell and lacks a brain, Blob can move, feed, organize itself, and even transmit knowledge to other slime molds. Students replicate experiments conducted by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet to see how the Blob’s behavior is affected by microgravity. Using time-lapse video from space, students can compare the speed, shape, and growth of the slime molds in space and on the ground. The National Center for Space Studies (CNES) and the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France coordinate Blob.

These are just a sample of the hundreds of investigations currently being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory in the areas of biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, and Earth and space science. Advances in these areas will help keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions as part of NASA’s Moon and Mars exploration approach, including lunar missions through NASA’s Artemis program.

Cygnus also will deliver a new mounting bracket that astronauts will attach to the port side of the station’s backbone truss during a spacewalk planned for late August. The mounting bracket will enable the installation of one of the next pair of new solar arrays at a later date.

Learn more about space station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Spacewalkers Complete Second Roll Out Solar Array Installation

The new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.
The new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet concluded their spacewalk at 2:37 p.m. EDT, after 6 hours and 45 minutes. In the ninth spacewalk of the year outside the International Space Station, the two astronauts installed and deployed a new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) on the far end of the left (port) side of the station’s backbone truss structure (P6).

Kimbrough and Pesquet successfully removed the array from its position in the flight support equipment, maneuvered it into position, connected the electrical cables, and released it to extend the solar array to its fully deployed position at the 4B power channel. After deployment, Pesquet also retrieved an articulating portable foot restraint (APFR) to bring inside the space station.

During two spacewalks June 16 and 20, Kimbrough and Pesquet installed and deployed a new array on 2B power channel also on the port 6 truss. Both new solar arrays are providing good power generation. Each new iROSA is expected to produce more than 20 kilowatts of electricity.

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.

This was the ninth spacewalk for Kimbrough, the fifth for Pesquet, and the fifth they conducted together. Kimbrough has now spent a total of 59 hours and 28 minutes spacewalking, and Pesquet’s total spacewalking time is 33 hours exactly.

Space station crew members have conducted 241 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 63 days, 7 hours, and 41 minutes working outside the station.

In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed its 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique research and technological demonstrations that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars and also improve life on Earth. In that time, 244 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Second of the New Solar Arrays Successfully Deployed

The 60-foot-long roll out solar arrays were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.
The 60-foot-long roll out solar arrays were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.

Working together outside the International Space Station, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough successfully installed, connected, and deployed a new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA). The array deployment began at 1:45 p.m. EDT using stored kinetic energy, unfurling over the course of about 10 minutes. Mission control confirmed good power generation on the new array.

It is the second of six total new iROSAs that will be installed in the coming years to upgrade the station’s power supply and completes installation of the pair delivered aboard SpaceX’s cargo Dragon on the company’s 22nd commercial resupply services mission to the station.

The new solar arrays are positioned in front of current 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 legacy solar arrays were deployed in December 2000 and have been powering the station for more than 20 years.

The new solar array is positioned in front of the current solar array on the same plane and rotary joints, but not directly on top of the primary solar arrays. The new arrays are 60 feet long by 20 feet wide (18.2 meters by 6 meters) and will shade a little more than half of the original array, which is 112 feet long by 39 feet wide. Each new iROSA will produce more than 20 kilowatts of electricity, while the current arrays generate, on average, 17 to 23 kilowatts each.

Boeing, NASA’s prime contractor for space station operations, its subsidiary Spectrolab, and major supplier Deployable Space Systems (DSS) provided the new arrays. The technology was developed and proven by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate during a demonstration on the space station in 2017, and the same solar array design will be used to power elements of the agency’s Gateway lunar outpost as well as on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.