The Last Pair of Solar Array Fly into Space
Here’s a picture of the last pair of ISS solar arrays to be attached to the International Space Station.
These 115-foot blue and gold solar arrays cost $298 million and were flown out to the ISS on the space shuttle Discovery to be added to the station in 2009, completing thirteen years of construction efforts.
The installation process for this last pair of ISS solar array wings took just over two hours to complete.
The ISS solar panels are made from a plastic electrical insulator and silicon solar cells and are extremely fragile. On previous ISS solar array wing installations, the wings have stuck together, snagged, or even ripped, but this last installation took place without a hitch. These new wings boosted the station’s total power output by more than 25 percent.
The total area of solar panels on the ISS now spans more than half an acre and provides 60 times more energy than the Russian space station Mir did at its height.