Friday spacewalk: NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Peske of the European Space Agency are preparing for their next spacewalk on the International Space Station.
The extravehicular activity (EVA), as spacewalks are officially called, will take place Friday, June 25.
Kimbrough and Peske, both experienced astronauts, will continue to work on upgrading the space station’s power systems, with tasks including installing a second solar array after installing the first last weekend. Four more solar panels will be installed during subsequent spacewalks.
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“During the spacewalk, Peske will latch onto the end of the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm and then take hold of [the solar panel],” NASA’s website says, “NASA astronaut Megan MacArthur and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hay, working from inside the station, will command the robotic arm to keep Peske and the battery as close to the installation site as possible.”
Friday’s spacewalk will be the ninth for Kimbrough and the fifth for Peske, and the fifth they have made as a team after two spacewalks during the current mission and the previous two in 2017.
The space agency explained that while the current solar panels continue to work well, they are starting to show their age. The new solar panels are being installed in front of the six existing batteries, which will increase the satellite’s total capacity from 160 kilowatts to 215 kilowatts. NASA said the same type of solar panels will power part of Gateway, a livable satellite planned for lunar orbit as part of the agency’s plan to establish a long-term and sustainable presence on the moon.
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How to watch
NASA will begin live coverage at 6:30 a.m. ET (3:30 a.m. PT) on Friday, June 25. Kimbrough and Peske are expected to leave the space station at about 8 a.m. ET (5 a.m. PT). The spacewalk will likely last six to seven hours. Peske will be recognized by the red stripes on his spacesuit, and Kimbrough will be working in an unmarked spacesuit.
The coverage, which you can watch with the player at the top of this page, will include footage from several cameras mounted on the ISS and on the astronauts themselves. You will also have access to a live audio link between the astronauts and the Mission Control Center, and a NASA commentator will explain what is happening as Kimbrough and Peske perform various tasks.
You can get some impressive images during the spacewalk – check out these incredible photos taken during spacewalks in recent years.