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.