NASA Astronauts Complete Spacewalk for Space Station Solar Array Upgrades

NASA astronaut Kayla Barron is pictured tethered to the International Space Station during a six-hour and 54-minute spacewalk to set up the orbital lab for its next roll-out solar array. Behind her is the Canadarm2 robotic arm with the Indian Ocean 263 miles below. Credit: NASA

NASA astronauts Kayla Barron and Raja Chari concluded their spacewalk at 3:06 p.m. EDT after 6 hours and 54 minutes in preparation for upcoming solar array installation.

Barron and Chari completed their major objectives for today to prepare the space station for upcoming solar array upgrades by assembling and installing modification kits. The duo built a support bracket onto which a future ISS roll out solar array (iROSA) will be mounted. So far, two of six iROSAs have been deployed on station with four additional arrays to be delivered. The arrays will ultimately augment six of the station’s eight power channels, increasing the station’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to up to 215 kilowatts.

NASA astronaut Kayla Barron works to ready the space station for a third set of roll-out solar arrays about 260 miles above the Earth. Credit: NASA TV

It was the 247th spacewalk in support of space station assembly, upgrades and maintenance, and was the first in Chari’s career and the second for Barron. Chari and Barron are in the midst of a planned six-month science mission living and working aboard the microgravity laboratory to advance scientific knowledge and demonstrate new 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 astronaut Kayla Barron is pictured installing a modification kit on the International Space Station’s Port-4 truss segment during a six-hour and 54-minute spacewalk setting it up for its next roll-out solar array. Credit: NASA

Astronaut roles for the next spacewalk on March 23 will be confirmed soon. NASA TV coverage for the March 23 spacewalk will begin at 7:30 a.m. for a spacewalk expected to begin around 8:50 am.

For the Wednesday, March 23, spacewalk, designated U.S. EVA 80, two astronauts will install hoses on a Radiator Beam Valve Module that routes ammonia through the station’s heat-rejecting radiators to keep systems at the proper temperature. The crew members also will install a power and data cable on the Columbus module’s Bartolomeo science platform, replace an external camera on the station’s truss, and conduct other upgrades to station hardware.

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