Astronauts upgrade ISS batteries during 7-hour spacewalk

Katie Ramirez
October 9, 2019

Over the next seven hours and one minute, the pair worked to replace the stations current 400 lb (180 kg) nickel-hydrogen batteries with lithium-ion batteries that were located on the space station's port truss section.

As two Expedition 60 crew members departed the International Space Station (ISS) on October 3, the six-person Expedition 61 crew officially began their tenure.

Koch was due to take part in the landmark walk with Anne McClain back in March but NASA embarrassingly had to alter its plans due to "spacesuit availability" issues. Astronauts Christina Koch and the newly arrived Jessica Meir will venture out October 21 to plug in new, upgraded batteries for the solar power system.

Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are going to remove a pair of old batteries and set up a new one delivered just a week ago.

In this image released Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, by NASA, astronauts Christina Koch, right, and, Jessica Meir pose on the International Space Station. "And it's wonderful to be contributing to the human spaceflight program at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone has a role, and that can lead, in turn, to increased chance for success". The new lithium-ion batteries have much better energy density so that each new battery is equivalent to two of the versions being replaced.

The two astronauts both joined NASA in 2013, the year NASA's astronaut class was 50 percent female.

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Throughout NASA's history, more than 500 people have ventured out into space yet only 11 percent have been women. The agency lists 38 active astronauts on its website; 12 are women.

When asked about spacesuit availability this time around, Koch said there are now two medium spacesuits on board.

Christina Koch is already two-thirds of the way through the mission which will total more than 300 days and make it the longest continuous spaceflight made by a woman.

"There are a lot of people that derive motivation from inspiring stores from people that look like them and I think it's an important aspect of the story to tell", she said.

Koch is scheduled to remain in orbit until February. They're halfway accomplished. The previous batteries are ten years old; the new ones are anticipated to last until the end of the space station's life. "It's just normal. We're part of the team".

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