For the second time this week, astronaut Thomas Pesquet left the International Space Station (ISS) airlock as part of an extravehicular activity (EVA) on Sunday.
French astronauts were the first to cross the airlock, followed by American Shane Kimbrough. This is the 240th spacewalk in the history of the ISS.
Purpose: Installing Solar Panels
The operation can be viewed live on NASA’s YouTube account. As last Wednesday, the day’s goal, for the two astronauts, is to install six latest-generation solar panels outside the ISS, to increase their energy generation capacity.
“A long but incredible day awaits us”, the French astronaut wrote on his Twitter account in the morning. At 1:42 p.m., he and Shane Kimbrough turned on the internal battery of their suit, then opened the hatch of the ISS decompression chamber. Thomas Pesquet went into the void first, followed by his teammate.
After an interrupted mission on Wednesday
On Wednesday, the seven-hour operation in which Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough took part was marred by multiple setbacks as it failed to complete the mission set.
Halfway through, the mission had to be temporarily halted due to concerns about Shane Kimbrough’s trial. NASA teams to examine the condition of her suit noticed a halt in the transmission of data, as well as a sudden increase in the pressure of her cooling system.
Shane Kimbrough had to return to the station airlock and do a reset. The two astronauts then rolled the solar panel into a large roll of about 350 kg, where it was to be installed. They secured it and attempted to reveal it, but an alignment issue interfered with the mechanism, preventing it from unfolding.