Jasmin Moghbeli, wearing a spacesuit with red stripes, works with Loral O’Hara to secure insulation around a malfunctioning radio unit during the fourth female spacewalk. Image: NASA Television. Astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara worked outside the International Space Station on Wednesday to replace a bearing assembly in one of the lab’s solar array rotation mechanisms. However, the task took longer than expected and they were unable to restore the broken electronics box as planned.
It was Moghbeli and O’Hara’s first spacewalk, the fourth for women and the first since 2020. in January, when Jessica Meir and Christina Koch completed their third EVA, or extravehicular activity.
The 12th spacewalk of the year began at 8:05 a.m. EDT when Moghbeli and O’Hara switched their spacesuits to battery power.
The two main goals of the 269th spacewalk were to replace a failed bearing assembly in one of the two solar array rotation mechanisms and to recover a failed communication component stored on the outer platform so it could be sent back to Earth for repair.
O’Hara focused on replacing the bearing assembly on the station’s left solar alpha rotary joint, or SARJ, which rotates the outer arrays of solar panels to maximize power production. Each SARJ has 12 bearing assemblies that press against a rotating 10.5-foot-wide “race ring.”
While O’Hara worked to unscrew the bearing assembly, Moghbeli removed the redundant control gear to allow for the future installation of a deployable solar array blanket.
She was photographing the area where the new arrays would be installed when flight controllers asked her to help hold O’Hara while she worked to loosen the tight bolts holding the bearing assembly together.
By the time the failed bearing assembly was finally removed, the crew was about an hour behind schedule. O’Hara used a grease gun to lubricate the race ring, while Moghbeli went to a nearby exterior camera to replace a misplaced ethernet cable.
After helping to stabilize O’Hara while she used a power tool to tighten the screws holding the replacement bearing assembly, Moghbeli swam to the outer storage platform, which contained a failed S-band radio component.
She and O’Hara had originally planned to remove the device and return it to the station’s airlock to eventually return to Earth. However, given the time involved in installing the bearing assembly, flight controllers opted to have Moghbeli simply prepare the device for removal during a future spacewalk. O’Hara helped her near the end of the EVA.
During one spacewalk, Moghbeli mentioned that she couldn’t find a tool bag that she had tied to a nearby railing. She was told to look for him later, but it was not immediately known if she found him or if he somehow got loose and swam away.
Anyway, the astronauts returned to the Quest airlock and closed the 6 hour 42 minute spacewalk at 13:47.
“Congratulations to you both on your first EVAs,” astronaut Anne McClain radioed from mission control. “You and the entire team here have completed a complex and international mission safely. Nicely done.”
Moghbeli thanked the crew’s coaches and added: “I would also like to thank my family and friends. This is a very special moment for me, going on my first spacewalk with my good friend and someone I really look up to, Loral. So thank you for giving me this. … I really think it takes a village, and I have a strong village.
In a final call to her twin two-and-a-half-year-old girls, she added: “Zelda and Estelle, mummy loves you and I hope this is a reminder that dreams can come true.”