Astronauts aboard the ISS have been working to install new solar panel arrays outside the ISS over the last handful of weeks. The new solar panel arrays are upgrades to aging panels that have lost their effectiveness and will give the space station the power it needs to operate into the future. One of the spacewalks to install solar panels was previously canceled.
NASA has now confirmed that the rescheduled spacewalk will occur on Sunday, September 12. NASA says it will provide details about the procedures schedule during a news conference that will be held on September 10 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Live coverage of the news conference and the spacewalk will be aired on NASA television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
This particular spacewalk is notable because it will be the first conducted by a pair of international partner astronauts from the space station Quest airlock. The mission is US EVA 77 and was originally scheduled to happen on October 24. The mission will see astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide attaching a support bracket to the space station in preparation for the future installation of a third solar array.
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei will provide support from inside the space station as he recovers from a minor medical issue. NASA is inviting media to participate in a news conference to register no later than Thursday, September 9. However, no media is being allowed into the NASA facility in-person participation due to restrictions in place by the pandemic.
Anyone watching everything via social media can participate and ask questions using the hashtag #AskNASA. Live coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 7 AM on September 12, with crew members scheduled to exit the airlock at about 8:30 AM. The spacewalk will last about six hours and 30 minutes.