Astronauts do space walk to touch solar panels

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This Friday (5), astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) concluded a space walk of almost seven hours to update the station’s solar panels.

Kate Rubins, from NASA, and Soichi Noguchi, from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), were responsible for walking outside the space laboratory and installing the modification kits with support accessories. This was the fourth space walk of astronauts, who have spent about 27 hours each on spacewalks throughout their careers so far.

The purpose of the walk was to prepare the station to receive a set of new solar panels, with installation scheduled for the end of 2021. Some of the current arrays responsible for capturing energy from the Sun to supply the ISS are 20 years old and, although they still fulfill their paper, need an update. The new panels will be more compact and efficient.

“NASA is expanding six of the Space Station’s eight existing energy channels with new solar panels, which will be delivered on SpaceX’s 22nd commercial refueling service mission,” wrote NASA. According to the agency, the total available power of the ISS will increase from 160 kilowatts to up to 215 kilowatts.

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