NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio successfully completed a spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, December 22.
The walk was supposed to take place a day earlier but NASA opted to delay the start after rocket debris was spotted close to the station, prompting controllers on the ground to maneuver the ISS to a safer orbit.
Cassada and Rubio, both on their their third spacewalk, finished their work at 3:27 p.m. ET after spending 7 hours and 8 minutes outside the station.
The pair completed the main tasks, which included the installation of an ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) on the 4A power channel on the port truss.
The iROSAs will boost the station’s power generation capability by up to 30%, increasing the station’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to up to 215 kilowatts.
NASA livestreamed the entirety of the spacewalk, which included footage from multiple cameras; audio from Cassada, Rubio, and controllers on the ground; and a commentary enabling viewers to better understand everything that was happening. The video is now available on NASA’s YouTube channel.
The space agency also shared several short clips on Twitter showing the two astronauts at work some 250 miles above Earth.
And here’s a clip for fans of slow TV, showing one of the new solar arrays unfurling:
Thursday’s walk came during a challenging period for the space station after a docked Soyuz spacecraft recently sprung a leak, with coolant from the crew capsule spraying into space. Engineers are continuing to evaluate the situation to determine if a new spacecraft needs to be sent to the station as a capsule needed by three ISS inhabitants for a ride home in March.
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