Astronauts have installed a new iROSA photovoltaic panel on the ISS

Earlier this month, SpaceX brought its Cargo Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station, which also carried new iROSA photovoltaic panels on board, created by Deployable Space Systems in collaboration with Boeing. These are the first batch of six new panels for the ISS to give the station more power. One photovoltaic panel is 6 meters wide and weighs 340 kilograms.

Two astronauts, NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and ESA’s Frenchman Thomas Pesquet, set out for space for six hours and 28 minutes on Sunday, June 20. During this mission, they completed the installation and development of the first iROSA photovoltaic panel, and began this work on Wednesday’s ascent, but the action had to be postponed due to an interference problem.

The original solar panels on the ISS have already exceeded the fifteen-year service life for which they were designed. Performance therefore began to deteriorate and modernization was needed. New photovoltaic panels will be installed in front of the old ones and will partially overlap them. iROSA will be attached to six of the station’s eight power supply channels, and the entire upgraded system should increase power supplies to the ISS by 20 to 30 percent.

It is the compactness and the subsequent possibility to develop photovoltaic panels that are their main advantage during transport. Astronaut Shane Kimbrough also noted that once developed, they are to provide the International Space Station with large amounts of electricity. The whole process of unrolling to the full length of 19 meters took six minutes and did not require any motor, just loosening the screws holding the panel in the coiled position.

In addition to supplying power to the International Space Station, iROSA panels are also a test project for future missions. For example, similar panels are to be part of a lunar station that NASA is preparing under the Artemis program. The installation and development of the second solar panel on the ISS is currently scheduled for Friday, June 25, when the astronauts will make another ascent into space.

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Source: Svět hardware by

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