STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS & USED WITH PERMISSION
NASA is in the process of installing six new roll-out solar array blankets — IROSAs — to augment the space station’s eight original wings, which have degraded over the years and no longer generate the power they did when they were new.
The IROSA blankets are designed to be mounted on triangular frames made up of multiple struts.
Two IROSA blankets were installed on the left outboard set of arrays in June. Hoshide and Pesquet plan to assemble the support bracket for a left-side inboard IROSA array, which will be installed next year or in 2023. The remaining three IROSA’s will be installed on the right side of the power truss.
In any case, with the iROSA support frame in place, Hoshide and Pesquet plan to replace a device called a floating potential measurement unit, or FPMU, that has a failed power supply. The device, located just inboard of the left-side solar arrays, measures charges on the station from its interaction with the space plasma environment.
Astronaut Mark Vande Hei originally planned to join Hoshide for Sunday’s spacewalk, then scheduled for early September, but the outing was delayed after Vande Hei developed a pinched nerve in his neck.
In order to get the spacewalk video back to Earth aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship at the end of September as originally planned, NASA managers decided to replace Vande Hei with Pesquet because they wear the same size suit and because Pesquet carried out three similar spacewalks in June.