Astronauts took their second spacewalk in two weeks Thursday, this time for some radiator work outside the International Space Station.
Commander Jeffrey Williams and Kate Rubins headed over to a 44-foot-long thermal radiator that’s no longer in use and needs to be folded up to stay safe from space junk. Williams had a power drill for retracting the radiator, accordion style.
“Good to be out here,” Rubins called out.
The radiator was extended in 2012 to help stop a coolant leak. But the leak ended up being elsewhere. Another team of astronauts attempted the radiator retraction late last year, but couldn’t complete the job, so it fell into Williams and Rubins’ gloved hands. NASA wants to preserve the radiator as a spare; it’s part of the 250-mile-high lab’s heat-dispelling system.
The two U.S. astronauts installed a new docking port during a spacewalk Aug. 19.
Williams returns to Earth next week. He already holds the NASA record for most accumulated time in orbit; his tally will reach 534 days over four missions by the time he’s back on Earth.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense