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Space: Astronauts burn up to 3,000 calories on seven-hour spacewalk to prepare for ISS power boost 

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If you’re still looking to lose those lockdown pounds, you might be doing worse than a seven-hour spacewalk — which burns up to 3,000 calories, according to NASA.

Astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency performed their orbital exercise on Sunday.

The spacewalk — which began at 08:15 ET (13:15 BST) — was supposed to help prepare the International Space Station (ISS) for a power boost in the form of new solar panels.

The pair installed a new support bracket on the outside of the revolving lab, near the living areas, on the inner port side of the ‘P4’ truss structure.

The bracket will support the third of six new ‘roll-out’ solar panels — so named because they are transported coiled into orbit like a stored carpet.

The first of the new arrays was successfully deployed at the station in June.

In addition to installing the support bracket, the astronauts also found: the time for an ‘forward’ task – replacing part of one of the ISS’s three airlocks.

The excursion represented Mr. Pesquet’s sixth spacewalk and Mr. Hoshide’s fourth — and the 244th for the construction, maintenance and upgrade of the space station as a whole.

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Astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency performed their orbital exercise on Sunday. Their spacewalk — which began at 08:15 ET (13:15 BST) — was supposed to help prepare the International Space Station (ISS) for a power boost in the form of new solar panels. Pictured: Mr. Hoshide works to install a support bracket on the ISS ‘P4’ truss structure, near the space station’s living areas

The excursion was the sixth spacewalk for Mr. Pesquet (pictured) of the European Space Agency - and the 244th for the construction, maintenance and upgrade of the ISS in general

Sunday's spacewalk was the fourth by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Akihiko Hoshide

The excursion represented Mr. Pesquet’s sixth spacewalk and Mr. Hoshide’s fourth — and the 244th for the construction, maintenance, and upgrade of the International Space Station (pictured) overall

In addition to installing the support bracket, the astronauts also found time for an 'forward' task - replacing part of an airlock on the International Space Station (pictured)

In addition to installing the support bracket, the astronauts also found time for an ‘forward’ task – replacing part of an airlock on the International Space Station (pictured)

SMOKE ALARM

NASA also provided an update on Sunday on reports of a smoke alarm that went off in Russia’s Zvezda module last Wednesday.

Research by Russian cosmonauts seems to have traced the problem to a faulty device that has since been disabled.

“Everything is back to normal and there have been no more problems,” said Dana Weigel, deputy manager of NASA’s ISS program.

“So everything is stable and great on board.”

The solar panels on the ISS have been supplying power to the station for 20 years – no small feat, considering they were only rated for 15 – and are beginning to show signs of degradation thanks to prolonged exposure to the space environment.

According to Dana Weigel, deputy manager of NASA’s ISS program, the solar panels are being partially eroded by thruster plumes from both the station itself and the crew and cargo vehicles that visit it during resupply trips.

“The other factor influencing our solar panels is micrometeorite debris. The arrays are made up of a lot of small power strings, and over time those power strings can degrade if they’re hit by debris,” she said. CNN News.

According to NASA, the new solar panels – which will be placed in front of the existing ones – will increase the station’s available power from 160 to 215 kilowatts.

“The exposed portion of the old arrays will still generate power in parallel with the new arrays, but those new Iris arrays have solar cells that are more efficient than our original cells,” said Ms. Weigel.

“They have a higher energy density and together they can generate more current than what our original array did on its own when it was new.”

Like their existing counterparts, the new arrays are built to last 15 years, but there’s a chance they’ll have a longer lifespan in practice as well.

The upgrade will also test the design of the new array, which is also planned for use in the orbiting Gateway station that NASA hopes to use as “a way station” for humanity’s return to the moon in the coming year.

During their spacewalk, astronauts Akihiko Hoshide (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet (ESA) installed a new support bracket on the outside of the orbiting laboratory, near the living areas, on the inner port side of the 'P4' truss -structure (photo, top Right)

During their spacewalk, astronauts Akihiko Hoshide (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet (ESA) installed a new support bracket on the outside of the orbiting laboratory, near the living areas, on the inner port side of the ‘P4’ truss -structure (photo, top Right)

According to NASA, the new solar panels - which will be placed in front of the existing ones - will increase the station's available power from 160 to 215 kilowatts.  Pictured: One of the new rollout solar panels to be installed on the ISS

According to NASA, the new solar panels – which will be placed in front of the existing ones – will increase the station’s available power from 160 to 215 kilowatts. Pictured: One of the new rollout solar panels to be installed on the ISS

The bracket installed on Sunday's spacewalk will support the third of six new

The bracket installed on Sunday’s spacewalk will support the third of six new “roll-out” solar panels (shown in this artist’s impression, overlapping the original arrays) — so named because they’re transported coiled into orbit like a stored carpet

Sunday’s spacewalk was originally scheduled to take place on August 24 — and would have involved US astronaut Mark Vande Hei instead of Mr. Pesquet.

However, NASA was forced to announce the postponement of the exercise the day before it was scheduled to take place, citing a “minor medical issue.”

Mr Vande Hei then revealed on Twitter that he had pinched a nerve in his neck.

“Thanks for everyone’s concern,” he wrote.

“The support from family, friends and NASA leadership has been fantastic.”

Although he was ultimately unable to complete the planned work himself – and is still recovering from his injury – Mr. Vande Hei was able to support his colleagues during the spacewalk from the space station.

EXPLAINED: THE $100 BILLION INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IS 250 MILES ABOVE THE EARTH

The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory orbiting 400 kilometers above the Earth.

It has been permanently manned by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.

Crews are mainly from the US and Russia, but the Japanese space agency JAXA and the European space agency ESA have also sent astronauts.

The International Space Station has been continuously occupied for over 20 years and has been expanded with multiple new modules added and system upgrades

The International Space Station has been continuously occupied for over 20 years and has been expanded with multiple new modules added and system upgrades

Research aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low gravity or oxygen.

ISS studies have explored human research, space medicine, life sciences, natural sciences, astronomy and meteorology.

The US space agency NASA spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, with the remaining funding coming from international partners, including Europe, Russia and Japan.

So far, 244 individuals from 19 countries have visited the station, including eight citizens who spent up to $50 million for their visit.

There is an ongoing debate about the station’s future after 2025, when it is believed that some of the original structure will reach the end of its life.

Russia, a major partner in the station, plans to launch its own orbital platform around that time, while Axiom Space, a private company, plans to send its own modules for purely commercial use to the station.

NASA, ESA, JAXA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are collaborating to build a space station in orbit around the moon, and Russia and China are working on a similar project, which would also include a surface base.

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