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Astronauts install new solar array outside International Space Station – Spaceflight Now - Spaceflight Now

Astronauts install new solar array outside International Space Station – Spaceflight Now - Spaceflight Now

Dec 03, 2022 1 min, 51 secs

NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio headed outside the International Space Station Saturday for a seven-hour spacewalk to install and unfurl a new roll-out solar array recently delivered by a SpaceX cargo ship.

The astronauts moved from the space station’s Quest airlock to the starboard, or right, side of the lab’s solar power truss, where the station’s robotic arm placed two new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array, or iROSA, units earlier this week after extracting them from the trunk of a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule.

The new solar array blankets were wrapped around spools and unrolled like a yoga mat once installed onto a mounting bracket on the starboard 4, or S4, section of the space station’s power truss, which measures more than the length of a football field from end-to-end.

Then they put in a Y cable to route power generated by both the new roll-out solar array and the original S4 solar panel into the lab’s power grid.

The mounting bracket plugs the new arrays into the station’s power channels and rotary joints, which keep the solar wings pointed at the sun as the spacecraft races around Earth at more than 17,000 mph.

The International Space Station has eight power channels, each fed with electrical power generated from one solar array wing extending from the station’s truss backbone.

The new solar array deployed Saturday will produce electricity for the space station’s 3A power channel.

The original solar panels launched on four space shuttle missions from 2000 to 2009.

 As expected, the efficiency of the station’s original solar arrays has degraded over time. NASA is upgrading the space station’s power system with the new roll-out solar arrays — at a cost of $103 million — which will partially cover six of the station’s eight original solar panels.

The first pair of new roll-out solar arrays launched to the space station last year, and were installed over the station’s oldest set of original solar panels on the P6 truss section, located on the far left end of the outpost’s power truss.

Despite their smaller size, each of the new arrays generate about the same amount of electricity as each of the station’s existing solar panels.

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