Astronauts on the spacewalk ventured on Sunday to install supports for the new high-efficiency solar panels that will arrive at the International Space Station later this year.

NASA’s Kate Rubins and Victor Glover the first set of mounting brackets and support frames together and bolted them to the station’s oldest and most degraded solar wing. But the work took longer than expected, and they barely started before exiting the second episode.

Rubin will complete this work during his second spacewalk later this week.

Spacewalkers must pack 8 feet (2.5 meters) of luggage into hundreds of pounds of mounting brackets and pillars. The is so large and awkward that it has to go through the furniture to be disassembled and to pass through the hatch.

As shown by the black line, some accessory positions require additional rotation of the electric drill, but it is still not comfortable enough. Astronauts must use a ratchet wrench to handle the more stubborn bolts, which will slow them down. At one point, they were two hours behind.

Glover said in a particularly troublesome place: “Whoever draws this black line is drawn off-line.”

“We will improve the skills of the kindergarten here,” the mission control department replied, urging him to move on.

According to NASA, as more people and experiments fly on the space station, more will be needed to keep everything running. Six new solar panels (SpaceX will be delivered in pairs in the next year or so) will increase the station’s electrical capacity by as much as 30%.

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Rubins and Glover solved the problem of the first two solar panels scheduled to be launched in June. Their spacewalk ended for seven hours, longer than planned.

“Thank you very much for your hard work. I know there are many challenges,” the mission control department broadcasted.

Now, the eight solar panels there have been in use for 12 to 20 years, most of which have exceeded their design life and are still deteriorating. Each panel is 112 feet (34 meters) long and 39 feet (12 meters) wide. The center frame is carefully calculated, each pair extends 240 feet (73 meters), which is longer than the Boeing 777’s wingspan.

Boeing is supplying new coils, which are about half the size of the old ones, but they are equally powerful thanks to the latest solar cell technology. They will be placed at an angle above the old angle and will continue to run.

The prototype was tested on the space station in 2017.

Rubens’ helmets are equipped with new high-definition cameras that provide stunning views, especially those that present a vivid blue earth 270 miles (435 kilometers) below. “Excellent,” Mission Control observed.

Sunday’s spacewalk is the third spacewalk carried out by infectious disease expert Rubin and naval pilot Glover, and both men may eventually fly to the moon.

They are one of the 18 astronauts newly assigned to NASA’s Artemis moon landing program. The next moonwalker will come from this group.

Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris congratulated Glover, who was the first African-American astronaut to live full-time on the space station. NASA released a video exchange on Saturday.

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Harris said: “The history you have done makes us proud of you.” Like other firsts, Glover replied that this will not be the last. He said: “We want to make sure that we can continue to do new things.”

On Friday, Rubin will withdraw with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi (Soichi Noguchi) to end preparations for solar panels, and to empty and install ammonia coolant hoses.

Glover and Noguchi were among the four astronauts who arrived via SpaceX in November. Rubin and two Russians launched from Kazakhstan in October. They all plan to return to Earth this spring.

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