Two astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) are gearing up for a spacewalk on Sunday, February 28. And you can watch it live online.
NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover will step outside the orbiting outpost 250 miles above Earth to perform maintenance work that’s expected to take around six-and-a-half hours to complete.
Specifically, Rubins and Glover will start work on assembling and installing modification kits needed for upcoming solar array upgrades.
“The current solar arrays are functioning well, but have begun to show signs of degradation, as expected, as they were designed for a 15-year service life,” NASA said. “The first pair of solar arrays were deployed in December 2000 and have been powering the station for more than 20 years. Later this year, the new solar arrays will be positioned in front of six of the current arrays, increasing the station’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to up to 215 kilowatts.”
The pair will be supported by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who will monitor the work and provide assistance from inside the station.
Sunday’s spacewalk, or “extravehicular activity” as they’re officially known, will be the 235th in the history of station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades. It will be the third spacewalk for both Rubins and Glover. Rubins participated in two others during another ISS mission in 2016, while Glover took his first step outside the space station just a month ago with fellow ISS crew member Mike Hopkins, following up shortly after with a second walk, also with Hopkins. Watch Glover jettisoning a piece of decommissioned equipment during his debut outing.
How to watch
You can watch the spacewalk on the player embedded at the top of this page, or by heading to NASA’s Live TV channel. Coverage will be broadcast from a variety of cameras, some of them fixed in place, and others attached to the astronauts themselves. Audio feeds are also provided.
Live coverage will begin at 1:30 a.m. PT, with the two astronauts scheduled to exit the station’s Quest airlock at about 3 a.m. PT. If that’s a bit early for you, then drop by a little later as the spacewalk is likely to continue until about 9:30 a.m. PT.
So you know who’s who, Rubins will be wearing red stripes on her spacesuit as extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), while Glover will be without stripes as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2).
Spacewalks have the potential to produce some pretty awesome imagery as the astronauts carry out their work. Check out this impressive collection of photographs snapped during various expeditions over the years.
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