A well deserved rest. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet returned safely to the interior of the International Space Station on Wednesday, June 16, after a third eventful spacewalk. This operation of more than seven hours was disturbed by several setbacks, which prevented the Norman and his American teammate Shane Kimbrough from fulfilling their objectives.
>> REPLAY. Relive Thomas Pesquet’s spacewalk
Halfway through, the mission had to be temporarily put on hold due to concerns about Shane Kimbrough’s suit. NASA teams observed an interruption in the transmission of data to check the condition of his suit, as well as a sudden spike in the pressure of his cooling system.
The astronaut must have returned to the ISS airlock and reset, before exiting. Meanwhile, Thomas Pesquet was waiting for him, hanging by his feet to a robotic arm. The mission finally resumed, with control data stabilized. Shane Kimbrough has never been “in danger”, assured NASA. But a precious hour has been lost.
The two astronauts then moved the solar panel they were to install, folded on itself into a large roll of about 350 kg. They secured it and attempted to unfold it, but an alignment issue interfered with the mechanism, preventing it from unfolding. They then returned to the interior of the Station. “You did a fantastic job today”, assured them the person in charge of NASA who was permanently in contact with them.
“It was an EVA [sortie extravéhiculaire] complicated “, she admitted. The two men will, however, carry out a second outing on Sunday in order to continue the installation of new solar panels, intended to increase the energy production capacities of the ISS. NASA must now decide whether the astronauts will finish installing the first panel or whether they will tackle the second, as initially planned.