Two NASA astronauts will conduct a spacewalk Saturday (Dec. 3) to install new solar arrays on the International Space Station (ISS), and you can watch the action live.
Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio are scheduled to step outside the ISS at 7:25 a.m. EST (1225 GMT) Saturday on a spacewalk expected to last up to seven hours. Watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA, or directly via the agency (opens in new tab). Coverage begins at 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT).
Cassada and Rubio will install a new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA), a task that NASA astronaut Nicole Mann and Japan’s Koichi Wakata will aid from inside the orbiting lab.
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Mann and Wakata “will assist the astronauts in and out of their EMUs [spacesuits], maneuver the Canadarm2 robotic arm, as well as monitor the spacewalkers during the excursion,” NASA officials wrote in an update (opens in new tab) on Friday (Dec. 2).
Cassada and Rubio laid the groundwork for Saturday’s installation during a roughly seven-hour spacewalk on Nov. 15, on which they erected an iROSA support frame. That was the first-ever spacewalk for both of the astronauts, according to NASA.
Spacewalking astronauts have installed two of six planned iROSA arrays to date. The new panels will augment rather than replace the current ISS solar-power system. Once all six iROSAs are up and running, the orbiting lab’s electricity supply should increase by 20% to 30%, NASA officials have said.
On Saturday’s spacewalk, Cassada will be “extravehicular crew member 1” (EV 1) and will wear a spacesuit with red stripes, NASA officials said. Rubio will be EV 2 and will wear an unmarked suit.
The duo are scheduled to install another iROSA during a spacewalk on Dec. 19. During that excursion, Rubio will be EV 1 and will done the red-striped suit.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab), Facebook (opens in new tab) and Instagram (opens in new tab).