A curious story comes with these photos I took on 13th January 2016. At first look there was something unusual happening on these ISS frames. Somehow one of the eight Solar Array Wings shone brighter than the others. I did not really understand on that evening what was exactly going on. Next day I did a bit of research and apparently a power system issue caused the misalignment which needed to be fixed soon.
Luckily we happened to have a british astronaut called Tim Peake currently on board the ISS available. He and his “buddy” Tim Kopra went for a spacewalk (officially EVA – or extravehicular activity) to fix the issue. They just did it and as they began working on other tasks, Kopra had “water intrusion in his suit” and they had to abandon the mission after 4 hours and 43 minutes. Still a very successful mission, the primary task was accomplished and everyone was back safe and sound. More about the spacewalk story on this link.
Next time when I had opportunity to take photos of the ISS was 2nd February 2016. On this photo (left) clearly no sign of misalignment, but by then we already knew that the power system works fine again. It was just cool to see ISS alive, it gets broken from time to time therefore repair works need to be done too.
When I meet Tim Peake in London on one of his talks I printed out this before/after photo, took it with me and asked him to sign it after a short but great chat. Now it is framed and hangs on the wall…
Skywatcher 90/2150 maksutov