NASA astronauts go spacewalking days after reaching orbit

In this frame from NASA TV, astronaut Drew Feustel, right, and NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold prepare to install new antennas, replace a bad camera and remove jumper cables from a leaky radiator at the International Space Station Thursday, March 29, 2018. (NASA TV via AP)
Updated 29 March 2018
0

NASA astronauts go spacewalking days after reaching orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida: Two new arrivals at the International Space Station went spacewalking Thursday less than a week after moving in.
NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold quickly set about installing new wireless antennas, replacing a failed camera and removing jumper hoses from a leaky radiator.
Mission Control said the spacewalkers would complete the chores despite a late start due to spacesuit trouble. Feustel’s suit failed three leak checks after he put it on, but passed on the fourth try. That put the astronauts more than an hour late in getting outside.
“You guys are working harder up there today than in the gym,” Mission Control said even before the spacewalk had begun.
Feustel and Arnold rocketed away from Kazakhstan last Wednesday and arrived at the 250-mile-high outpost two days later. They will remain on board until August. Shuttle astronauts often went spacewalking a few days after reaching orbit, given their short flights, but it’s less common for station residents who spend five to six months aloft.
A space station manager, NASA’s Kenny Todd, said earlier this week that both Feustel and Arnold were experienced spacewalkers from the old space shuttle days and were used to a quick transition in orbit. But Todd cautioned there’s nothing routine about spacewalking and is probably the most dangerous undertaking by orbiting astronauts.
This was Feustel’s seventh spacewalk and Arnold’s third.
“Welcome to the vacuum of space ... welcome back,” said Mission Control.
The intense pace continues next week. SpaceX plans to launch a load of supplies to the station crew Monday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.


Saudi students invent robot to improve solar panel efficiency

The technology addresses the problem of decreased efficiency in the production of electricity by photovoltaic solar panels caused by harsh environmental conditions. (Photo/Social media)
Updated 20 April 2019
0

Saudi students invent robot to improve solar panel efficiency

  • The device boosts productivity from 70% to 80%

TAIF: Two students at Taif University in Saudi Arabia have invented a robot that improves the efficiency of solar panels by more than 14 percent by keeping them clean and dust free.
The technology developed by Ahmed Fayez Ahmed Mohammed and Ahmed Ali Zayed Oudha, who are studying electrical engineering, addresses the problem of decreased efficiency in the production of electricity by photovoltaic solar panels caused by harsh environmental conditions, including the build up of dust, which can be particularly problematic in desert environments.
To counter this, they created a high-performance, cost-efficient smart robot that prevents the accumulation of dirt and dust on the panels.
It has sensors that allow it to move across the surface of the panels and accurately detect and remove any buildup. They also prevent the robot from wasting energy operating when the panels are not generating power — for example at night or on cloudy days. The cleaning mechanism uses cylindrical brushes and a high-performance fan.
The students worked on the project under the supervision of Dr. Mohammed Salahuddin Mohammed Suleiman and Dr. Musleh Al-Harthy, the dean of the engineering faculty.