The fourth spacewalk of 2021 was also the fourth spacewalk of two astronauts’ careers as they ventured outside of the International Space Station Friday.
Kate Rubins, a NASA astronaut, and Soichi Noguchi, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut, began their spacewalk at 6:37 a.m. ET and it ended at 1:33 p.m., lasting for six hours and 56 minutes.
The spacewalk assisted with a continuation of upgrades for the orbiting laboratory.
Rubins just conducted a spacewalk alongside fellow NASA astronaut Victor Glover Jr. on Sunday. Prior to that, her previous two spacewalks occurred during her first rotation on the space station in 2016.
Both NASA crew members are veteran spacewalkers at this point. Glover had already conducted two spacewalks since arriving at the space station in November. Sunday’s was his third.
Rubins was crew member 1 in the red-striped suit and Noguchi was crew member 2 in the stripeless suit. The new high-definition helmet camera on Rubin’s suit provided crystal clear views of the astronaut’s perspective as she worked outside of the space station.
These will be the 235th and 236th spacewalks in the history of the station.
Rubins and Glover prepared for upcoming solar array upgrades by assembling and installing modification kits.
Brand-new solar arrays will be placed in front of six of the arrays currently on the station later this year, boosting the station’s power from 160 kilowatts to 215 kilowatts, according to NASA. The solar arrays will begin launching to the space station on a SpaceX vehicle in June.
During the February 28 spacewalk, Rubins will be crew member 1 in the suit bearing red stripes, and Glover will be crew member 2 in a suit with no stripes.
Rubins and Noguchi finished installing solar array modification kits Friday before moving on to some other tasks.
Glover began work on this during his last spacewalk by adding a stronger magnet to keep the cover closed.
Rubins will be crew member 1 in the red-striped suit on March 5, and Noguchi will be crew member 2 in the stripeless suit.
All three crew members are veteran spacewalkers at this point. Glover has already conducted two spacewalks since arriving at the space station in November. This will be his third.
Rubins previously conducted spacewalks during her first rotation on the space station in 2016, so these will be her third and fourth spacewalks. And Noguchi will add a fourth spacewalk to his career; he previously conducted three spacewalks during his shuttle flight in 2005 to help with repairs to the space station.