Astronauts complete construction job needed for upgrading ISS's power system
NASA astronaut Nicole Mann and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata have successfully completed upgrading the power generation system on the International Space Station (ISS). Their spacewalk ended at 2:26 pm EST on February 2 (12:56 am IST, February 3) and lasted six hours and 41 minutes. This is the second spacewalk this year and the second one for both astronauts.
Why does this story matter?
- According to NASA, since December 1998 there have been 259 spacewalks at the ISS including this one. The first spacewalk this year was carried out on January 20 by the same duo: Mann and Wakata. It lasted 7 hours and 21 minutes.
- Typically, spacewalks, which are also referred to as EVA (extravehicular activity), last between five and eight hours, depending on the task.
The operations were carried out on ISS's starboard side
Mann and Wakata completed the construction of a "mounting platform on the 1A power channel" that was started during the spacewalk on January 20. The operations were carried out on the starboard part of the space station's truss structure, a series of segments that serve as attachment points for solar arrays, heat radiators, and external payloads on the ISS.
The astronauts readied the ISS for installation of solar arrays
In addition, the astronauts relocated an "articulating portable foot restraint from the P6 truss for future spacewalk tasks and deployed cables for the installation of the next pair of International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs)."
The iROSAs will boost ISS's power supply by 20-30%
The installation was part of a series of spacewalks to augment the space station's power channels with new iROSAs, said NASA in a blog. So far, four iROSAs have been installed and two additional arrays will be mounted to the installed platforms during future spacewalks. All six iROSAs will boost the space station's power supply by 20- 30%, according to the space agency.
There are currently seven astronauts aboard the ISS
Currently, there are a total of seven astronauts aboard the ISS. Mann and Wakata are part of SpaceX's Crew-5 mission for NASA which arrived at the ISS in October 2022. The mission also includes Josh Cassada of NASA and Anna Kikina from the Russian space agency Roscosmos. The other crew members are NASA's Frank Rubio and cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin.