NASA Videos Show Astronauts Spacewalking Outside ISS—250 Miles Above Earth

Astronauts completed a successful spacewalk to deploy a new 60-foot-long solar panel array on the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday.

NASA has released videos of the spacewalk, by American Shane Kimbrough from the U.S. space agency and Frenchman Thomas Pesquet from the ESA (European Space Agency).

The pair completed their spacewalk at 2:10 p.m. ET after spending six hours and 28 minutes outside the station.

One time-lapse video posted to NASA's ISS Twitter page shows the new roll-out solar array, which is lighter and more flexible than traditional panels, deploying from start to finish with the help of Kimbrough and Pesquet.

Another video shows the spacewalkers working high up above the Pacific Ocean during an orbital sunrise.

#ICYMI: This time-lapse video shows the new roll out solar arrays deploying from start to finish. @Astro_Kimbrough and @Thom_Astro completed the installation work today then readied a second set of solar arrays for an upcoming spacewalk.

— International Space Station (@Space_Station) June 21, 2021

The space stations orbits the Earth at an average altitude of around 250 miles, roughly once every 90 minutes. That means its crew experience 16 sunrises in each 24-hour day.

Kimbrough and Pesquet's spacewalk was the eighth of the year outside of the ISS. During the spacewalk, the pair completed the deployment of a new Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) iROSA on the far end of the left side of the station's backbone structure, known as "P6."

Spacewalkers @Thom_Astro and @Astro_Kimbrough work 260 miles above the Pacific Ocean during an orbital sunrise. #AskNASA |

— International Space Station (@Space_Station) June 20, 2021

The astronauts successfully unfolded the solar array, bolted it into place and connected cables to the space station's power supply to complete the deployment.

In addition, the pair also had time to prepare a second new iROSA for installation on an upcoming spacewalk, which is tentatively scheduled for June 25. Another video clip, below, shows the astronauts making these preparations.

The iROSA that deployed successfully on Sunday was installed by Kimbrough and Pesquet into its mounting bracket during a previous spacewalk on June 16. However, technical issues on the day prevented a full roll-out of the solar array.

.@Thom_Astro and @Astro_Kimbrough are getting the second roll out solar array ready for installation on an upcoming spacewalk. #AskNASA |

— International Space Station (@Space_Station) June 20, 2021

NASA is adding several new solar arrays to the ISS to ensure it has a sufficient power supply for upcoming experiments and other missions.

The latest spacewalk was Kimbrough's eighth, with the American having now spent a total of 52 hours and 43 minutes spacewalking. Meanwhile, Pesquet has now completed 26 hours and 15 minutes in space over the course of four spacewalks.

Around 240 spacewalks have been conducted to date to help assemble and maintain the ISS—a multinational collaborative project involving NASA, the ESA and the space agencies of Russia (Roscosmos,) Japan (JAXA) and Canada (CSA.)

In November 2020, the ISS marked 20 years of continuous human presence, during which time 244 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory, conducting nearly 3,000 research investigations.

ISS spacewalk
A screenshot taken from a NASA video clip showing astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet spacewalking outside the International Space Station around 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean during an orbital sunrise on June 20, 2021. NASA
NASA's Shane Kimbrough during an ISS spacewalk
NASA Expedition 65 astronaut Shane Kimbrough pictured during the Friday, June 18, 2021, spacewalk to install new roll out solar arrays on the International Space Station's P-6 truss structure. NASA