Two astronauts are gearing up for a nearly seven-hour-long spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Friday, with one of them set to make history as the first Arab astronaut to take on the extravehicular activity.
NASA astronaut Stephen Bowen and United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi are scheduled to begin their spacewalk on April 28 at 9:15 a.m. ET to upgrade the space station’s power generation system, according to NASA. The spacewalk will be broadcast live on NASA TV, as well as the space agency’s website. You can also tune into the action through the feed below. The live feed will begin at 7:45 a.m. ET.
The astronauts will spend around six and a half hours to continue installation of hardware to support future power system upgrades to the ISS. The space station is being prepped for its next set of roll-out solar arrays, which are going to be launched on board the next SpaceX Dragon cargo mission in June.
“We’re trying to get all the cables ready and trying to pat down some insulation that’s not exactly in the right configuration the way we want it,” Dina Contella, ISS program operations integration manager, said during a press call on Monday. “Just generally preparing things like equipment and staging equipment in the perfect location so that the June spacewalks can go off as planned.”
During their spacewalk, the pair of astronauts will also retrieve the Radio Frequency Group (RFG) unit, a communications antenna, that will be returned to Earth.
This will be Bowen’s eighth spacewalk, while UAE astronaut Al Neyadi will venture outside the ISS for the first time to mark a significant moment in history for the Emirati space industry. Al Neyadi will become the first Arab astronaut to perform a spacewalk and his extravehicular activity will make UAE the tenth country with a spacewalking astronaut.
Al Neyadi launched to the ISS on March 2 as part of SpaceX’s Crew-6 mission. He was selected by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) to embark on this orbital journey as part of an agreement between NASA and Axiom Space. The UAE astronaut has already made history as the fourth Arab in space and the first Arab to go on a long duration mission.
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