Two space-walking astronauts began to prepare International Space Station (ISS) for the new solar arrays on Sunday (Feb.28), powerful bolts are struggling to start the main power upgrade of the orbiting laboratory.
Expedition 64 flight engineer Kate Robins And the Victor Glover – Both NASA astronauts – they spent more than seven hours working outside the station while walking in space to install modification kits for the new solar arrays. They worked on the port’s edge of the station to install a strut and struts to two mast cases at the base of the current solar flanks of the outpost there, but only managed to anchor one of the groups while assembling the second and storing it for later.
“They have completed building the upper support devices and fitting them into the space station’s exoskeleton so that work on the next spacewalk can be completed on Friday, March 5,” NASA officials He said in the update.
The International Space Station, parts of which have been in orbit since 1998, is preparing for new solar panels. NASA says the oldest set of panels It has been in continuous operation since December 2000, and is still doing well despite its stated 15 years service life. (The other pairs were delivered in September 2006, June 2007, and March 2009.) But the arrays don’t generate as much energy as they used to, hence starting a series of spacewalks now.
The new arrays will be smaller than the old ones due to advances in solar technology. They will be installed to be thrown in front of the existing six arrays, allowing the new facilities to use the infrastructure already in place for the existing cluster, according to NASA. Boeing (prime contractor for space station operations) It will save matrices, With the assistance of its Spectrolab subsidiary and a major supplier, Deployable Space Systems.
The astronauts’ goal was to install new array support structures for Station 4B and 2B using a solar array modification kit and several instruments, which came in a massive pouch approximately 8 feet (2.5 meters) long, 1 foot (0.3 meters) deep. Robins and Glover have moved the solar array kit and supports to the station’s right edge, using a special “slingshot” device to use the crew’s safety ropes away from the core of the International Space Station.
“Unfortunately, this toolkit is too large and does not fit the door in its current condition,” said Spacewalk officer Art Thomason. Press Conference Held Wednesday (February 24). “So we have to take it out in pieces, like assemble furniture.”
Thomason noted that the mass of the device is approximately 330 pounds. (150 kilograms), and crew members will need to be careful while bringing everything to the far ends of the space station, where the solar arrays are located.
“Although we do not have gravity to deal with in space, we still suffer from inertia and mass. The crew knows to be careful about this,” he said. While they are doing the translation [moving] There, they’ll take it easy and make sure when turning around, things like that, that they help direct the bag because this is something bigger than they used to. “
Thomason said the crew had hoped to install two sets of stents at two work sites near the solar arrays. At each site, they had to use portable foot restraints and anchor ropes in place, before installing the left and right and center pillars. The astronauts planned to secure thermal blankets over each of the supports. Robins also loaded a new HD video camera in her spacesuit, the first of its kind in the United States for a spacewalk, to provide clearer views.
In practice, however, Glover and Rubins both fell behind schedule after one of the bolts on the first strut had not fully engaged at first.
NASA officials wrote in the update: “One of the bolts didn’t fully engage on the first attempt, so Robins used an electric drill to bring it back and reinstall it, then used a ratchet wrench to fasten the bolt, accessing a secure configuration.” . “The Thunderbolt will likely need more insurance before installing one of the new solar arrays that will be delivered to the space station later this year on board SpaceX’s Commercial Resupply Services Mission No. 22.”
The astronauts were then able to assemble the upper support for the second set of arrays, and then anchor it to their work site so that it could be anchored to an upcoming spacewalk on March 5.
Robins and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will venture outside the station on that next flight, which is expected to complete the work begun in spacewalks today. It will also include a range of maintenance tasks: venting ammonia, removing and replacing a set of wireless video transmitters and receivers, and installing a “booster” on the Quest’s heat equalization lock to prevent the cover from blowing during a space walk (when there is some remaining air from the space station escaping into Space.) For this trip, Robins will be the EV 1 and Noguchi EV 2.
Solar arrays naturally degrade over time, and the new array array will boost the station’s current power levels by 20% to 30%, returning the International Space Station to what was available when the orbiting laboratory was first established in decades. NASA said in a statement. (Batteries are also a factor in the station’s power, especially for storage capabilities; spacewalk crews spent about four years upgrading the old batteries to newer, more efficient versions. He finally completed this work in January.)
The eight solar arrays in existence now provide about 160 kW of power; Half of that is stored when the station is in tropical darkness, which occurs about 15 times a day. Once the new solar arrays are in place on the old ones, adding the new array power to the remainder of the old ones should save up to 215 kilowatts of power, depending on factors such as whether the station is in sunlight or darkness, NASA said. . .
“The solar arrays will be delivered to the International Space Station in pairs in the uncompressed trunk of the SpaceX Dragon cargo vehicle during three resupply missions starting in 2021, when the second pair of the current arrays will reach the fifteenth year of their design life,” NASA added In the statement. “Installing each solar array will require two spacewalks: one to equip the worksite with a modification kit and the other to install the new solar array.”
Solar System 4B has an interesting history. In 2007, astronauts on the space station and a space shuttle were spreading the newly delivered array when they noticed a rupture. Stop publication and consult the NASA Mission Control Center in Houston to fix it.
The result is an epic space walk – actions for which were carried out in just a few days – that took place Astronaut Scott Barazinski walks in space Above the Canadarm2 robotic arm and a repair extension piece. Parazinski used tools made in orbit to sew the rip together into a fully powered kit. The challenging work of Barazinski and his crewmates and ground observers in November The damaged matrix was allowed to finish posting. The reform is still in place today.
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