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The second deployed iROSA at the ISS. Image Credit: NASA TV.

Astronauts install second iROSA solar array at the ISS

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet earlier today successfully installed and deployed the second of six iROSA (Roll-out Solar Array) solar arrays at the Internation Space Station (ISS). Beginning at 11:52 UTC, Kimbrough and Pesquet first had to remove the iROSA from its storage position in the flight support equipment, before connecting it to the 4B power channel at the station’s P-6 truss segment. After several hours of work ouside the orbital laboratory, the new solar array began its deployment at 17:45 UTC. Around ten minutes later, the array had extended to its full length of 18.2 m.

The second deployed iROSA at the ISS. Image Credit: NASA TV.

This was the second of the six new solar arrays to be installed at the International Space Station. The first one was connected to the 2B power channel at the P-6 truss segment during two spacewalks by Kimbrough and Pesquet on June 16 and June 20. Both of the two new iROSAs were launched inside the unpressurized trunk of the SpX CRS-22 Cargon Dragon space freighter atop a Falcon 9 rocket on June 3 and arrived at the station a few days later.

The first two iROSAs inside Dragon’s trunk. Image Credit: SpaceX.

The Boeing built iROSAs will augment the ISS’ four pairs of increasingly aging solar arrays, the first of which is in service for over 20 years now. The ISS Roll-out Solar Arrays will all be installed on the same plane and rotary joints as the old ones, but not infront of the original ones, to avoid a total shading. Each iROSA will provide over 20 kilowatts of electricity compared to the 17 to 23 kW generated by the current arrays.

Today’s spacewalk was concluded at 18:37 UTC after 6 hours and 45 minutes outside of the station. It was the ninth spacewalk for Shane Kimbrough and the fifth for Thomas Pesquet. Both men arrived at the International Space Station on April 24 onboard Crew Dragon Endevour, together with NASA astronaut Megan McArthur and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

Crew Dragon Endeavour approaches the ISS. Image Credit: NASA.


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