Two astronauts complete 6.5-hour spacewalk, swapping batteries

Katie Ramirez
March 24, 2019

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Anne McClain spent Friday morning conducting a spacewalk outside the International Space Station as part of a comprehensive upgrade of space station's power system. Hague is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and with helmet camera #17.

The batteries store power generated by the station's solar arrays to provide power to the station when the station is not in the sunlight, as it orbits the Earth during orbital night. The new batteries are much more efficient, meaning only one will be needed to replace two of the old batteries, and they will give power storage capacity a boost. This was the first spacewalk for both McClain and Hague.

This is the first of two battery replacement spacewalks this month.

"It's an ongoing maintenance operation, it's one we put in place several years with the purchase of the lithium-ion batteries, stepping up the technology", Todd said.

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McClain and Koch's assignment is partly the result of chance - the batteries originally were to be installed last fall but the work was delayed by a variety of issues - and a desire by NASA management to give more of the agency's astronauts spacewalk experience. The original nickel-hydrogen batteries have become less capable of holding a charge over time.

NASA first started replacing batteries on the ISS in 2017.

Ms McClain was launched to the ISS in December 2018 while Mr Hague arrived at the space station this March.

They also installed adapter plates and hooked up electrical connections for three of the six new lithium-ion batteries installed on the station's starboard truss. McCain and Koch will tackle the power channel 2A battery swap outs next Friday.

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