Indian American astronaut Raja Chari conducts his first spacewalk

  • NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 mission commander Raja Chari conducted his first spacewalk on Tuesday.
  • Chari, 44, spent almost seven hours in the vacuum of space alongside NASA flight engineer Kayla Barron.
  • The pair carried out a modification kit installation at the International Space Station (ISS) to support upcoming solar array upgrades, which will increase the station’s total electrical capacity.
  • The Indian American astronaut became the commander of the Crew-3 mission in 2020 and was launched to the ISS last year.

Indian American astronaut Raja Chari, commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), conducted his first spacewalk on Tuesday. 

After more than a week of spacewalk preparation, Chari finally stepped out of the airlock alongside NASA flight engineer Kayla Barron. They spent almost 7 hours in the vacuum of space to carry out ISS upgrades. It was Barron’s second time walking outside the station.

The two astronauts successfully carried out a modification kit installation at the ISS to support an upcoming solar array upgrade. The installation of the new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) will increase the station’s total electrical capacity from 160 kilowatts to a maximum of 215 kilowatts.

The upgrade will significantly help the station respond to the increasing demands of its daily operations as it harnesses energy from the Sun. 

Chari, a U.S. Air Force colonel, became an astronaut in 2017. He was appointed as the commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission in 2020 and arrived at the orbiting outpost last year. 

The astronauts of the Crew-3 mission will do another spacewalk on March 23 to carry out maintenance work and repairs to the ISS, which is set to operate until 2030.

 

Featured Image via NASA (left), International Space Station (right)

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