Two astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are making final preparations for a spacewalk on Sunday, September 12, and NASA will livestream the entire event.
The spacewalk was originally scheduled for August 24 but had to be postponed when one of the participants, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, suffered a pinched nerve in his neck shortly before it was scheduled to start.
Vande Hei is continuing to recover and so colleague Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency will take his place. The French astronaut will work alongside Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide during the spacewalk, while Vande Hei will provide support from inside the station.
Neither are newbies, with Pesquet embarking on his sixth spacewalk across two ISS missions, and Hoshide on his fourth, also across two missions.
The main purpose of Sunday’s excursion is to attach a support bracket in preparation for the installation of the orbiting outpost’s third new solar array as part of work to upgrade the station’s power supply.
The new arrays were too large to fit inside the spacecraft so they were rolled up into a more compact shape prior to launch. During a spacewalk in June, Pesquet and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough unfurled a new array that had already been installed. NASA posted a time-lapse video showing the solar array as it unfurled.
What to expect
These days, livestreamed spacewalks offer plenty of fascinating footage, from detailed close-ups captured by astronauts’ helmet cameras to wider shots covering the entire scene. Audio plays a big part, too, with astronauts, controllers on the ground, and a NASA commentator all contributing to the live feed.
How to watch
Coverage of the event will begin at 7 a.m. ET (4 a.m. PT) on Sunday, September 12. The spacewalk itself is set to begin at around 8:30 a.m. ET (5:30 a.m. PT). The walk is likely to last about six-and-a-half hours, so if the early start is a challenge then simply drop by later in the morning.
You can watch a livestream of the spacewalk by hitting the play button on the video at the top of this page. NASA’s website will also carry the same live feed.
To get warmed up for Sunday’s event, check out these awesome images captured during various spacewalks over the years.