The European Space Agency (ESA) has posted an amazing time-lapse showing two astronauts conducting a spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS).
The video shows NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and ESA’s Thomas Pesquet installing a new roll-out solar array as part of ongoing work to upgrade the space station’s power system.
The time-lapse images, captured by fellow ISS crew member Aki Hoshide on Sunday, June 20, even show the moment when one of the new 19-meter-long solar arrays unfurls alongside several of the existing arrays. You’ll spot it at the 30-second mark.
“During this spacewalk the duo unfolded the solar arrays that are rolled into tubes for transport, aligned them, connected data cables, and secured them to the mounting bracket,” ESA explained in a message posted with the video, adding that the power lines have to be connected during the orbital night-time to avoid any chance of the astronauts suffering an electric shock.
Orbiting Earth at around 17,000 mph at an altitude of 250 miles means that astronauts aboard the space station experience 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets each day, resulting in a constant cycle of 45 minutes of light followed by 45 minutes of dark.
“As Thomas and Shane waited for the night to arrive, Shane’s helmet lights and camera partially detached from his helmet but Thomas used some wire to successfully reattach them as a temporary fix,” ESA said of a moment that appears to take place around 20 seconds into the video.
Nearly seven hours after starting their spacewalk, the two astronauts returned to the interior of the orbiting outpost for a well-earned rest.
Kimbrough and Pesquet arrived at the space station in April and have been keeping space fans abreast of their activities via their respective Twitter accounts. Pesquet, for example, recently posted a video of a little “space boogie” performed as part of a safety procedure that helps spacewalkers adjust to the change in atmospheric pressure, and he also revealed how astronauts celebrate birthdays in space.
Alongside their science work and spacewalks, both Kimbrough and Pesquet have been sharing some stunning photos of Earth, too, captured from their unique vantage point high above our beautiful planet.