The ISS is Getting New Solar Arrays

In what seemed to be surprising news to almost everyone I’ve seen mention it (including me), new solar arrays will be headed up to the ISS starting this year. They will sit on top of the existing arrays so as to take advantage of existing capabilities like sun tracking and power distribution:

The new arrays will shade slightly over half of the length of the existing arrays and will be connected to the same power system to augment the existing supply. The eight current arrays are currently capable of generating up to 160 kilowatts of power during orbital daytime, about half of which is stored in the station’s batteries for use while the station is not in sunlight.

Each new solar array will produce more than 20 kilowatts of electricity, eventually totaling 120 kilowatts (120,000 watts) of augmented power during orbital daytime. In addition, the remaining uncovered solar array pair and partially uncovered original arrays will continue to generate approximately 95 kilowatts of power for a total of up to 215 kilowatts (215,000 watts) of power available to support station operations at completion.

The new arrays will fly in the trunk of Dragon cargo missions starting this year, and each will take 2 EVAs to install.