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Spacewalking astronauts take another step towards upgrading the ISS power system

Two astronauts exited the International Space Station’s airlock on Tuesday on a nearly 7-hour spacewalk to continue the years-long process of modernizing the on-orbit laboratory’s power grid.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron exited the airlock at 8:12 a.m. ET to assemble and install modification kits to support solar array upgrades on the station. The kits will support the second pair of six ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSA). The iROSAs are part of a plan to upgrade the ISS’ power system over the next year and a half.

During a spacewalk in June, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet unrolled the first two iROSAs outside of the space station. The solar arrays roll up like a carpet for launch, then roll out again when released in space.

Barron and Chari spent about 6 hours and 54 minutes outside the ISS on Tuesday for the installation. Barron could be identified on NASA television because she was wearing a red-striped suit. Chari’s suit had no stripes.

NASA spacewalker Raja Chari is connected to station iss066e166316.
NASA spacewalker Raja Chari is pictured associated with the station.
NASA

The duo completed their work in the vacuum of space at 3:06 p.m

Barron and Chari are part of NASA’s 2017 class of astronauts, nicknamed the Turtles. Barron posted on Instagram on Monday, saying after “4.5 years of training and working together [Chari] and I feel ready and excited for the first all-turtle spacewalk!”

NASA space runner Kayla Barron installs a solar array conversion kit.
NASA space runner Kayla Barron installs a solar array conversion kit.
NASA

The spacewalk was Barron’s second and Chari’s first.

Tuesday’s spacewalk is one of two scheduled this month, and a second will be conducted on March 23.

NASA space runner Kayla Barron takes one "Outer Space Selfie."
NASA spacewalker Kayla Barron takes a “space selfie.”
NASA

Next week, astronauts will install tubing outside of the ISS to keep the station’s systems at the proper temperature, install a power and data cable on the Columbus module’s science platform, and replace a camera on the station’s truss.

For the March 23 spacewalk, NASA executives said the astronauts would be assigned after Tuesday’s EVA was completed.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/17/spacewalking-astronauts-take-another-step-toward-upgrading-iss-power-system/ Spacewalking astronauts take another step towards upgrading the ISS power system

JACLYN DIAZ

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