NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency are preparing for their next spacewalk at the International Space Station.
The extravehicular activity (EVA), as spacewalks are officially called, will take place on Friday, June 25.
Kimbrough and Pesquet, both experienced spacewalkers, will continue to work on upgrade the space station’s power systems, with tasks including the installation of a second solar array following the installation of the first one last weekend. Four additional solar arrays will be installed during future spacewalks.
“During the spacewalk, Pesquet will secure himself to the end of the station’s robotic Canadarm2 then grasp the [solar array],” NASA said on its website, adding, “Operating from inside the station, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei serving as backup, will command the robotic arm to maneuver Pesquet and the array as close as possible to the installation location.”
Friday’s EVA will be ninth for Kimbrough and the fifth for Pesquet, and the fifth they’ve conducted as a team after two spacewalks during the current mission and two earlier ones in 2017.
The space agency explained that although the current solar arrays continue to work well, they’re starting to show their age. The new solar arrays are being placed in front of six of the current arrays in a move that will boost the satellite’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to as much as 215 kilowatts. NASA said the same kind of solar array will provide power to part of the Gateway, a habitable satellite planned for lunar orbit as part of the agency’s plan to create a long-term, sustainable presence on the moon.
How to watch
NASA will begin its livestream at 6:30 a.m. ET (3:30 a.m. PT) on Friday, June 25. Kimbrough and Pesquet are expected to depart the space station at about 8 a.m. ET (5 a.m. PT). The spacewalk will likely last for between six and seven hours. Pesquet will be identifiable by red stripes on his spacesuit, while Kimbrough will be working in an unmarked suit.
Coverage, which can be viewed via the player at the top of this page, will include footage from multiple cameras attached to both the ISS and the astronauts themselves. You’ll also have access to the live audio feed between the astronauts and Mission Control, while a NASA commentator will explain what’s happening as Kimbrough and Pesquet perform their various tasks.
EVAs can produce some spectacular imagery — check out these incredible photos captured during spacewalks from over the years.