NASA has announced that astronauts aboard the ISS, who are part of Expedition 65, will be conducting a pair of spacewalks. The first spacewalk will happen on Wednesday, June 16, and the other will happen on Sunday, June 20. The spacewalks will be to install new solar arrays to help power the ISS.
NASA did broadcast a discussion of the upcoming spacewalks during a news conference at 2 PM EDT on Monday, June 14. Coverage of the spacewalks will be broadcast via NASA Television, the NASA website, and its app. The same astronauts will conduct both spacewalks, including NASA flight engineer Shane Kimbrough and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
The two spacewalks will be the 239th and 240th conducted in support of the space station during assembly, maintenance, and upgrades. Live coverage of the spacewalks will begin at 6:30 AM EDT on the day of each spacewalk, with crew members scheduled to exit the Quest airlock of the ISS around 8 AM. The space agency is predicting each spacewalk will last about six hours and 30 minutes.
Wednesday, June 16, will see the astronauts install the first two of six ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays that will ultimately upgrade six of the station’s eight power channels. The first of the arrays will be installed on the left side of the station’s backbone truss structure P6 to upgrade the 2B power channel. On Sunday, June 20, the astronauts will install the second array to upgrade the 4B power channel on the P6 truss.
The new solar arrays were delivered to the space station by a Dragon cargo spacecraft as part of the 22nd commercial resupply services mission to the station. The arrays were removed from the Dragon capsule on June 10 using the Canadarm2 robotic arm.