Two NASA astronauts will float outside the International Space Station today to prepare the orbiting lab for new solar wings and you can watch it live online.
Astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio will step outside the space station today, Nov. 15, at 8 a.m. EST 1300 GMT) on the first of three planned spacewalks to install the new solar arrays. For both astronauts, it will be the first spacewalk of their spaceflight careers.
NASA will broadcast the International Space Station spacewalk online starting at 6:30 a.m. EST (1130 GMT) and you can watch it live in the video feed above.
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If all goes well, Cassada and Rubio will spend seven hours working outside the space station. Their primary goal is to install a mounting bracket on the starboard side of the station's backbone-like main truss that will be the foundation for a new International Space Station Rollout Solar Array (iRosa), a solar panel designed to rollout like a window shade to generate power.
"These will be the third and fourth iROSAs out of a total six planned for installation," NASA wrote in a statement (opens in new tab). "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 bracket and other gear for the spacewalk arrived at the space station last week on a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship that launched on Nov. 7. The iRosa solar arrays themselves will launch to the station Nov. 21 on a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship, NASA has said.
Once the mounting bracket is installed, station astronauts will perform additional U.S.-led spacewalks on Nov. 28 and Dec. 1 to complete the installation of iRosa solar arrays for the station's 3A and 4A power channels.
Cassada and Rubio are not the only station crewmembers taking a spacewalk this week.
On Thursday (Nov. 17), Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin will take their own spacewalk to work on the exterior of the station's Russian-built Nauka laboratory module. The cosmonauts will spend about seven hours working to prepare a radiator on the station's Rassvet module for a move to the Nauka lab.
That spacewalk will also be webcast live online by NASA, beginning at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) on Thursday.
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