NASA Spacewalkers Replace Aging Space Station Batteries

U.S. NASA astronauts Anne Mc Clain and Nick Hague take a spacewalk to replace aging batteries on the International Space Station

How to watch first NASA spacewalk of 2019 during International Space Station upgrade

McClain will be joined by NASA's Christina Koch, who'll be making her first-ever spacewalk.

Two astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 8:01 a.m. EDT aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about six-and-a-half hours.

This marks the 214th spacewalk at the station.

These new batteries provide an improved power capacity for operations with a lighter mass and a smaller volume than the nickel-hydrogen batteries. In so doing, they would chalk up the first all-female space outing since cosmonaut Alexey Leonov carried out history's first spacewalk in 1965. In 2017, astronauts successfully installed six of the lithium-ion batteries on one side of the station. This work will establish a redundant path of power to the Canadian-built robotic arm, known as Canadarm2.

"We go through a sunrise-sunset about every 90 minutes on station, so we don't have the benefit of having the sun all the time", said Mary Lawrence, the spacewalk flight director for the upcoming EVAs.

The live show can be watched on NASA Live. Hague will be designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes. At the start of the first spacewalk, power channel 4A had already been isolated from the station's electrical grid and the six older nickel-hydrogen batteries powering that channel were drained.

Additional batteries will be replaced as part of this power upgrade over the next couple of years as new batteries are delivered to station. The batteries were transported to the station in September aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle.

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

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