Space Station Astronauts Prep for Two Spacewalks in One Week

24 March, 2019, 16:39 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • NASA astronauts replace three old nickel-hydrogen batteries on the ISS

This morning, two astronauts will spacewalk on the outside of the International Space Station, in order to replace the vehicle's aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer lithium-ion ones. Hague will be designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes.

The International Space Station has been in use for almost two decades.

A pair of astronauts are embarking on a seven-hour spacewalk Friday, the first spacewalk of 2019. McClain will be joined by NASA's Christina Koch, who'll be making her first-ever spacewalk. That power is funneled to batteries on the spacecraft, and those batteries then power the various instruments and tools of the ISS when it's in the shadow of the Earth.

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These new batteries provide an improved power capacity for operations with a lighter mass and a smaller volume than the nickel-hydrogen batteries. "Just like your rechargeable batteries at home, eventually over time they're not going to recharge as well, they're not going to hold as much charge when it comes to putting loads on them". When the space station is in full sunlight it stores the extra power that isn't immediately being used.

Friday's spacewalk was the first of three planned excursions to replace batteries and perform other maintenance. The spacewalking work continues the overall upgrade of the station's power system that began with similar battery replacement during spacewalks in January 2017.

Flight controllers remotely operating the station's robot arm had already removed four of the older nickel-hydrogen batteries and installed three of the new lithium-ion batteries in slots one, three and five. McCain and Koch will tackle the power channel 2A battery swap outs next Friday.

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