Science

Astronauts take spacewalk to swap space station’s batteries

Astronauts take spacewalk to swap space station’s batteries”

Next week's spacewalk will include the first all-female crew, including McClain.

"As you know, the other half of our team will not arrive until about a week before the spacewalks, so [there are] a lot of technical preparations [to do] to make sure everything is ready". She took a scraper wrapped with sticky tape and picked up bits of tiny space debris attached to one section of the station.

The two astronauts replaced nickel-hydrogen batteries with three newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station's solar arrays.

This will be the 214th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance.

For identification, McClain, call sign EV-1, is wearing a suit with red stripes and using helmet camera No. 20. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 55 days, 21 hours and 39 minutes working outside the station.

Even the International Space Station batteries need an upgrade once in a while.

According to NASA, the batteries store power generated by the station's solar arrays to power the station when it's not in the sunlight.

The 12 nickel-hydrogen batteries on the inboard starboard 4, or S4, truss segment powering electrical channels 1A and 3A were replaced by six lithium-ion batteries during spacewalks in January 2017. Another six will be installed both today and during a spacewalk set for next week.

Replacing the batteries is a complex shell game of sorts. Two older NiH2 batteries were still in place in slots two and four while slot six was empty.

NASA Astronauts Nick Hague and Anne McClain perform a spacewalk to replace aging batteries on the International Space Station.

McClain and another female flight engineer Christina Koch are scheduled to venture outside next Friday to work on a second set of battery replacements on a different power channel.



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