The mission of Thomas Pesquet and his teammate, American astronaut Shane Kimbrough, lasted more than seven hours, suspended weightless outside the station 400 kilometers above Earth.
The purpose of the mission was to place, repair, connect and deploy a new generation solar panel, called iROSA, the first in a series of six designed to increase the power generation capabilities of the International Space Station.
Halfway through, however, the mission was temporarily put on hold due to concerns about Shane Kimbrough’s suit.
NASA teams noticed an outage in the data transmission to check the condition of his suit, as well as a sudden rise in pressure in his suit’s cooling system.
The astronaut had to return to the station’s airlock and perform a reset before exiting. Meanwhile, Thomas Pesquet was waiting for him, hanging by his feet with a robotic arm.
The task finally resumed, with monitoring data available and stable again. The US space agency confirmed that Shane Kimbrough was at no time “in danger”.
But a precious hour was wasted.
Then the two astronauts moved the solar panel, folding itself into a large roll of about 350 kilograms, to where it was to be installed.
They secured it and tried to unravel it, but a compatibility problem interfered with the mechanism, preventing it from appearing.
Then the astronauts returned to the station.
They activated their suit’s internal battery seven hours and fifteen minutes earlier, at 12:11 GMT, marking the official start of their journey.
On Sunday, the same team will usually have to start the process again to install a second solar panel.