NASA astronauts to conduct spacewalk days after Soyuz leak on Space Station


NASA astronauts to conduct spacewalk days: American astronauts are prepared to leave the security of the airlock, days after a Soyuz spacecraft leak forced the cancellation of a Russian spacewalk. The American spacewalk will add more solar panels to the Space Station, increasing its power capacity.

A deployable solar array will be installed during the spacewalk on Wednesday to improve electrical power for the zero-gravity lab’s operations and scientific research.

Frank Rubio and Josh Cassada, Expedition 68 Flight Engineers, will leave the station’s Quest airlock to set up the new solar panels in the flying lab. While Rubio, who will be dressed in a suit with red stripes, will be extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1). 

NASA released a statement, “This will be the fourth iROSA installed on the station out of a total of six planned for installation. Overall, the iROSAs will increase power generation capability by up to 30%, increasing the station’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to up to 215 kilowatts. The iROSA arrived at the space station Nov. 27, following a launch aboard the agency’s 26th SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply mission Nov. 26.”

Cassada will wear an unmarked suit and work as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2). For the two American spacewalkers, this will be their third spacewalk. This mission marks the fourth specifically designated spacewalk by astronauts to instal solar panels on the space station. If the task is not finished on Wednesday, Nasa has a backup plan ready for a second spacewalk on December 27. After the Russian spacewalk was postponed due to a leak on the Soyuz spacecraft connected with the Space Station, the spacewalk is now scheduled for days in the future.

The Soyuz MS-22 leak was discovered last week as two Russian cosmonauts prepared to leave the station on a scheduled spacewalk. When ground experts observed a stream of liquid and debris emanating from the Soyuz on a live video feed from orbit, Russian Mission Control terminated the spacewalk. Both Roscosmos and NASA have stated that there is no threat to the station’s crew as a result of the incident.