Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new solar wings

Cape Canaveral, Feb 28 (AP):
Spacewalking astronauts ventured out Sunday to install support frames for new, high-efficiency solar panels arriving at the International Space Station later this year.
NASA’s Kate Rubins and Victor Glover emerged from the orbiting lab lugging 8-foot (2.5-meter) duffle-style bags stuffed with hundreds of pounds of mounting brackets and struts. The equipment was so big and awkward that it had to be taken apart like furniture, just to get through the hatch. ‘We know it’s super tight in there,’ Mission Control radioed. The astronauts headed with their unusually large load to the far port side of the station, careful not to bump into anything. That’s where the station’s oldest and most degraded solar wings are located.
With more people and experiments flying on the space station, more power will be needed to keep everything running, according to NASA. The six new solar panels — to be delivered in pairs by SpaceX over the coming year or so — should boost the station’s electrical capability by as much as 30%.

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