Two National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronauts, including Indian-origin Raja Chari, performed a spacewalk on Tuesday, March 15, to prepare to install new solar arrays on the International Space Station.
Kayla Barron, 34, and Raja Chari, 44, spent six hours and 54 minutes on their spacewalk, which began at 8:15 a.m. EDT. It was Chari's first-ever spacewalk, while Barron did it for the second time.
Both Chari and Barron had been preparing for the spacewalk and had readied their spacesuits and placed their spacewalk tools inside Quest. After the final procedures review and a conference with specialists on the ground, NASA gave a green signal and a conference.
NASA planned to install six ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSA) to soak up the sun's energy to provide electrical power for various research and science investigations conducted every day. As demand for experiments and space tourists arises, the ageing station will be provided with new panels for a much-needed electrical boost. The new panels will increase the station's total available power from 160 to 215 kilowatts, India Today reported.
Who Is Raja Chari?
In 2020, Chari was selected as the commander of the Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station and launched to the flying outpost in 2021. A colonel in the US Air Force was selected to be an astronaut in 2017. The Indian-American has accumulated over 2,500 hours of flight time in his career. He was also chosen as a member of the Artemis Team and is eligible for a future lunar mission assignment.
His father, Srinivas Chari, shifted to the US from Hyderabad at a young age for an engineering degree.
The spacewalk comes amid rising tension between the US, Europe, and Russia over Ukraine that has sparred into space cooperation, with all of them imposing sanctions against each other on the ground.
NASA will conduct the second spacewalk of the month on March 23, where astronauts will conduct repairing and maintenance work on the ISS.
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