Astronauts continue to upgrade the ISS power system – astronauts have already left the station several times. In the next few days, it will be possible to watch as researchers go into outer space to install equipment in preparation for the launch of a new solar array.
NASA astronaut Mark Wande Hai and Japanese space agency JAXA representative Akihiko Hoshide will perform the spacewalk. They will work on preparing the 4A power channel by installing a support bracket for the new solar array, the International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSA).
Two of these arrays have already been installed – this output will be the third of the six required. The array will power several parts of the station, including the laboratory, Harmony module and Columbus.
Current solar panels were originally designed for 15 years, but some have been in operation for over 20 years. Although the arrays are still functional, their effectiveness diminishes over time. Thanks to this and advances in technology, the new batteries will provide more energy than the old ones.