NASA Astronauts Embark on Spacewalk To Deploy New Solar Array

Spacewalker Stephen Bowen Works To Release a Roll-Out Solar Array

NASA astronaut and Expedition 69 Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen (center) is pictured working to release a stowed roll-out solar array attached to the International Space Station’s starboard truss structure during a six-hour and three-minute spacewalk on June 9, 2023. Credit: NASA

Expedition 69 Flight Engineers Woody Hoburg and Steve Bowen of NASA began a spacewalk at 8:42 a.m. EDT (5:42 a.m. PDT) to install an IROSA (International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Array) to augment power generation for the 1B power channel on the station’s starboard truss structure.

Hoburg, designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1), is wearing a suit with red stripes. Bowen, designated extravehicular crewmember 2 (EV 2), is in an unmarked suit. Coverage of the spacewalk continues on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

ISS Six iROSA Solar Arrays

Six iROSA solar arrays in the planned configuration will augment the power drawn from the existing arrays on the International Space Station. Credit: Boeing

The International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Array (IROSA) is a new type of solar panel designed to upgrade the International Space Station’s existing power system. Unlike traditional rigid panels, the IROSA panels are flexible and can be rolled out like a red carpet, allowing them to be more compact during transport. Once in place, they are designed to be unrolled and deployed to increase the Station’s power generation capacity.

These arrays are designed to operate in conjunction with the station’s original solar panels, not replace them, improving the ISS’s power supply for both the existing systems and potential future modules. The installation of IROSA is part of NASA’s efforts to upgrade and maintain the International Space Station as it continues to serve as a crucial platform for research and testing systems necessary for future space exploration.

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