BREAKING NEWS
This content is not available in your region

Watch: French and US astronauts spacewalk to install solar panel system on ISS

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
Six iROSA solar arrays in the planned configuration will augment the power drawn from the existing arrays on the International Space Station.
Six iROSA solar arrays in the planned configuration will augment the power drawn from the existing arrays on the International Space Station.   -   Copyright  NASA
Text size Aa Aa

French and American astronauts went on Wednesday on the first of two spacewalks this week to upgrade the International Space Station's power supply.

Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA's Shane Kimbrough ventured out of the ISS at around 14:00 CEST on Wednesday.

But Kimbrough encountered spacesuit issues midway through the seven-hour spacewalk, forcing him to temporarily retreat back into the airlock to reset his equipment.

The interruption put Kimbrough and Pesquet an hour behind, then they had trouble trying to unfold the solar panel's booms before time finally ran out.

Mission Control said that Kimbrough was safe the entire time, despite problems with his suit’s display control panel and cooling system.

The two are supposed to venture back out Sunday.

NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Mark Vande remained inside the ISS and operated the long robotic arm that moved Pesquet and Kimbrough to their worksites.

The aim of this week's spacewalks is to install the first two of six new solar arrays (systems of multiple solar panels) to boost the station's power supply — the current solar arrays still work but are nearing the end of their 15-year lifespan.

The new solar arrays, which were moved into position on June 10, will be placed in front of current arrays which will increase the station's total power from 160 kilowatts to a maximum of 215 kilowatts.

This week's spacewalks will be the seventh and eighth for Kimbrough and the third and fourth for Pesquet. The French astronaut's first two spacewalks were also carried out with Kimbrough.