This NASA frame capture captured on June 20, 2021 shows American astronaut Shane Kimbrough seen from the helmet camera of French astronaut Thomas Pesquet while the two installed a solar panel in the International Space Station – Copyright POOL / AFP / File Alexander Zemlianichenko
A French astronaut and an American embarked on a spacewalk on Sunday to complete the installation of new solar panels to increase the International Space Station’s (ISS) power supplies, they announced on Twitter.
“Here we go again to episode (2) of the new installation of solar panels,” tweeted Thomas Pesquet, a Frenchman from the European Space Agency.
“It’s a great team effort every time and I couldn’t be happier to come back with @astro_kimbrough,” he said in reference to his fellow American NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough.
The two men activated the internal batteries of their space suits at 11:42 GMT and then opened the hatch to the ISS air door.
Its mission is to install six new generation solar panels, called iROSA.
The new panels, which will drive both the day-to-day operations and the research and science projects carried out at the ISS, are expected to have a useful life of 15 years.
Wednesday’s first effort ran into several problems, most notably problems with Kimbrough’s space suit. He temporarily lost data from his space suit display unit and then suffered a brief surge in the suit’s pressure reading.
Sunday’s outing was the fourth time the two astronauts ventured together into space.
In addition to Wednesday’s spacewalk, they did so twice on a 2017 mission, joined by tethers at the space station as it orbits the Earth at an altitude of about 400 kilometers.
In total, there have been 240 ISS spacewalks while astronauts perform assembly and maintenance work, as well as the improvement of the station.