“As the years go by, things get more efficient and smaller, and this is no exception,” Kimbrough said in an interview with NASA reviewing his spacewalk with Bisquet. “These arrays are much smaller than the original arrays that we’re going to put next to them.”
The eight old solar array pavilions were originally built with a design life of 15 years, and are showing signs of deteriorating energy production.
Also, when the new arrays are used in conjunction with areas still exposed on the larger and older arrays, the upgraded system will be able to increase the space station’s electricity supply by 20% to 30%.
Work on the array had to be paused, though, to allow time for Kimbro to return to the airlock to reset his spacesuit’s data display and remove a slight pressure rise in his suit’s cooling unit.
The two astronauts were also scheduled for another spacewalk on Sunday (June 20) to deploy the second iROSA system to augment the P6/4B solar array, and NASA flight controllers will now re-plan the activities and timing of that extravehicular activity as needed to complete Install the first set before starting the next.
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