Astronauts Set up Assist Frames On Worldwide House Station For New Photo voltaic Panels – CBS Miami

CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami / AP) – On Sunday, two astronauts installed support frames on the International Space Station for new solar panels that will arrive later this year.

NASA’s Kate Rubins and Victor Glover put the first mounting brackets and struts together, then screwed them next to the station’s oldest and most degraded solar wings. But the work was taking longer than expected and they barely started the second set before finishing it.

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Rubins will quit the job later this week during a second spacewalk.

The spacewalkers had to haul out the hundreds of pounds of brackets and struts in eight-foot travel bags. The equipment was so large and cumbersome that it had to be dismantled like furniture to get through the hatch.

Some of the attachment points required additional turns of the drill and were still not tight enough, as indicated by black lines. The astronauts had to use a ratchet wrench to deal with the more stubborn bolts, which slowed them down. Once they were back two hours.

“Whoever painted that black line was drawing a little outside of the lines,” Glover said at one particularly troubled point.

“We’re going to work on our kindergarten skills over here,” Mission Control replied, telling him to continue.

As more people and experiments fly on the space station, more energy will be needed to keep everything going, according to NASA. The six new solar modules, which SpaceX will deliver in pairs in the coming year, are expected to increase the electrical performance of the station by up to 30%.

Rubins and Glover have started work on the first two solar panels, which are due to hit the market in June. Their spacewalk lasted seven hours, a little longer than planned.

“Really appreciate your hard work. I know there were a lot of challenges, ”broadcast Mission Control.

The eight solar panels up there are now 12 to 20 years old – most of them have passed their lifespan and are deteriorating. Each panel is 34 meters long and 12 meters wide. Each pair counts for the middle scaffold and extends for 73 meters, which is longer than the wingspan of a Boeing 777.

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Boeing is supplying the new roll-up panels, which are about half the size of the old ones, but are just as powerful thanks to the latest solar cell technology. They are placed at an angle over the old ones that will continue to work.

A prototype was tested on the space station in 2017.

Rubins’ helmet was equipped with a new high-resolution camera that offered breathtaking views, especially of the bright blue earth that lies 435 kilometers below us. “Pretty awesome,” remarked Mission Control.

Sunday’s spacewalk was the third for infectious disease specialist Rubins and marine pilot Glover, both of whom were able to fly to the moon.

You are one of the 18 astronauts who were newly assigned to NASA’s Artemis moon landing program. The next moon walkers will come from this group.

Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris congratulated Glover, the first African-American astronaut to live on the space station full-time. NASA published the video exchange on Saturday.

“The story you make we are so proud of you,” said Harris. Like other premieres, Glover replied, it won’t be the last. “We want to make sure we can keep doing new things,” he said.

Rubins will swim back Friday with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to complete prep work for the solar panel and vent and route ammonia coolant hoses.

Glover and Noguchi were among the four astronauts who arrived via SpaceX in November. Rubins started in October together with two Russians from Kazakhstan. All of you should return to earth this spring.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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