NASA Astronaut Encounters Technical Glitches With Spacesuit During Spacewalk to Install First New Solar Array

Spacewalkers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet

Spacewalkers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet working at the Port-6 truss during EVA 74. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet concluded their spacewalk at 3:26 p.m. EDT, after 7 hours and 15 minutes. In the seventh spacewalk of the year outside the International Space Station, the two astronauts installed a new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) into its mounting bracket 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 and maneuvered it into position on the mast canister at the 2B power channel.

Before the new array can be deployed and begin providing power to the orbiting laboratory, spacewalkers will need to install the electrical cables and drive the final two bolts to enable the solar array to unfurl its fully deployed position. Pesquet and Kimbrough are scheduled for another spacewalk coming up on Sunday, June 20 to continue the installation of new solar arrays.

About three hours into the spacewalk, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough made his way back to the Quest airlock at the International Space Station to reconnect his spacesuit to an umbilical connection and restarted it. The reset corrected issues he was having with his spacesuit’s display and controls module that provides him information about the status of his spacesuit.

NASA Astronaut Shane Kimbrough Spacewalk

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough photographed during a spacewalk in January 2017. Credit: NASA

In addition, after seeing a spike in the reading for pressure in his sublimator, which provides cooling for his spacesuit, flight controllers had Kimbrough cycle the sublimator. The data stabilized.

Kimbrough is safe and made his way back to the worksite where the new solar arrays remained in the flight support equipment.

During this time, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet remained in the foot restraint attached to the end of the station’s robotic Canadarm2 in preparation to continue the work to release the new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) from the flight support equipment.

The spacewalking duo was preparing to install the iROSA in front of the current solar arrays on the station’s left (port) side, known as P6, to upgrade the 2B power channel and resumed working through the next steps on the day’s timeline.

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 seventh spacewalk for Kimbrough, the third for Pesquet, and the third they conducted together. Kimbrough has now spent a total of 46 hours and 15 minutes spacewalking, and Pesquet’s total spacewalking time is 19 hours and 47 minutes.

Space station crew members have conducted 239 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 62 days, 18 hours, and 28 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.

2 Comments on "NASA Astronaut Encounters Technical Glitches With Spacesuit During Spacewalk to Install First New Solar Array"

  1. Michael O'Flynn | June 18, 2021 at 10:18 am | Reply


    Not to complain, but where are the stories about what the Chinese are up to with their space station? Sounds like a pretty exciting area of interest for us…

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