Spacewalks are always risky. It reminded us again of the expedition led by Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough outside the International Space Station on Wednesday, June 16, the first scheduled spacewalk since their arrival on the Alpha mission at the end of April.
Familiar with this type of exercise, Thomas Pesquet, who now has seven spacewalks, and Shane Kimbrough, who was seventh, spent More than seven hours suspended in the emptiness of space 400 km above the earth. But they could not complete the assigned task due to several setbacks.
The two men must install new solar panels at the station in order to increase its production capacity. The first flight consisted of positioning, stabilization, wiring and the first board deployment of a series of six, ahead of a second expedition scheduled for Sunday to continue operations.
Diving problem for Shane Kimbrough
The mission had to be temporarily postponed midway due to concerns about Shane Kimbrough’s suit. NASA teams notice an interruption in allowing data to be transmitted بإرسال Check the condition of your wetsuitAs well as a sudden rise in the pressure of the cooling system.
The astronaut had to return to the station’s airlock and perform a reset before exiting. Meanwhile, Thomas Pesquet was waiting for him, hanging by his feet with a robotic arm. The task finally resumed, once the control data had stabilized. In the end, a precious hour was wasted.
NASA reassured that Shane Kimbrough was at no time “in danger”. In 2013, Italian Luca Parmitano nearly drowned while walking in space due to a leak in his suit’s cooling system.
Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough moved the solar panels, folded on themselves into a large roll of about 350 kilograms, to where they were to be installed. They fixed it and tried to expose it, but alignment problem Came to interfere with the mechanism, preventing its spread. Then they returned to the station.
Next outing scheduled for Sunday
Today was undoubtedly an attempt. Thomas Pesquet took off his helmet after finding the interior of the station, rubbed his eyes and folded and opened his fingers as if to stretch them out, according to images broadcast live by NASA. Former French astronaut Philippe Perrin explained on RTL Wednesday that working in a spacesuit is a very difficult test.
NASA praised the two men’s work during a complex extravehicular activity outside the spacecraft. The space agency must now decide what to do next: On Sunday, will the astronauts finish installing the first plate, or will they handle the second plate, as initially planned?