Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer will switch their spacesuits to autonomous power at 08.50 am.

The U.S. Space Agency announced that the next spacewalk from the International Space Station (ISS), scheduled for March 23, will be performed by NASA astronaut Raja Chari and his German counterpart Matthias Maurer.

“They will switch their spacesuits to autonomous power at 08:50 East Coast time, which will mean the beginning of a spacewalk that will last six and a half hours,” NASA noted. Chari and Maurer will have to perform a number of tasks, including attaching hoses to the radiator of the ISS heat sink system, installing power and data cables on the Columbus module, and replacing one of the station’s video cameras.

Both for Chari, whose parents moved to America from India in 1973, and for Maurer, this is the first flight to the ISS. They arrived at the station with Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron on the SpaceX Crew Dragon ship on November 11 last year and will return to Earth on it in April. For the German astronaut, the upcoming spacewalk will be the first experience of working outside the orbital complex.

Chari has already participated on March 15, together with Barron, in the installation of a bracket on one of the ISS trusses, to which a new iROSA solar panel weighing almost 340 kg will be attached in the future. NASA previously noted that the existing solar panels are working fine, but there are signs of wear: some of them were installed back in 2000. So far, the agency has planned to deploy six iROSA panels, which will increase the power of the station’s power system from 160 to 215 kW. Two of them were installed in June 2021; the next two will be delivered in the fall on the Dragon cargo ship.