Astronauts on the International Space Station replaced a failed voltage regulator on a space walk last week. The repair restored full power to the Station, which had been operating with only seven of its eight solar-power channels, according to a report from the Star Tribune.
The voltage regulator shorted out last May but could not be replaced until now because of a yearlong hiatus in nonemergency spacewalks by NASA. The stoppage was caused by spacesuit problems, most notably a flooded helmet that nearly cost an astronaut's life in 2013, the Star Tribune reported.
To avoid an electrical shock, the two spacewalkers waited until darkness before attempting to remove the old voltage regulator, so there would be no discharge. The voltage regulator — officially called a sequential shunt unit or SSU — is needed to keep excess power from its designated solar wing, from overloading the station system. Power is regulated at about 160V.