On Friday (March 5, 2021) two International Space Station (ISS) crew members will conduct the second in a pair of spacewalks to continue to ready the station for solar array upgrades. Live coverage will air on NASA TV, beginning at 5:30 a.m.EST (10:30 UTC; translate UTC to your time), with the astronauts scheduled to exit the station at about 7:00 a.m. EST (12:00 UTC) The spacewalk will last approximately 6 1/2 hours. Watch here.
During Friday’s spacewalk, NASA flight engineer Kate Rubins and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi will vent ammonia from the Early Ammonia System and complete several other tasks. According to NASA:
The pair will install a ‘stiffener’ on the Quest airlock thermal cover to prevent it from blowing out when residual atmosphere escapes as the hatch is opened. Glover began addressing this issue on a previous spacewalk by installing a stronger magnet to keep the cover closed. The crew also will remove and replace a wireless video transceiver assembly.
— International Space Station (@Space_Station) March 2, 2021
The first in this pair of spacewalks took place on February 28. During it, Rubins and NASA flight engineer Victor Glover began assembling and installing modification kits required for upcoming solar array upgrades. According to a NASA statement:
The current solar arrays are functioning well, but have begun to show signs of degradation, as expected, as they were designed for a 15-year service life. The first pair of solar arrays were deployed in December 2000 and have been powering the station for more than 20 years. Later this year, the new solar arrays will be positioned in front of six of the current arrays, increasing the station’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to up to 215 kilowatts.
Bottom line: On Friday, March 5, 2021, watch live coverage as two astronauts perform the second in a pair of International Space Station spacewalks to ready the station for solar array upgrades. How to watch.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.