Astronauts complete 2nd spacewalk to swap station batteries

James Marshall
July 2, 2020

Behnken, along with NASA astronaut Doug Hurley, launched from the United States and joined Cassidy on the space station on May 31.

Commander Chris Cassidy and Behnken quickly tackled the big, boxy batteries.

He'll use a spare for Wednesday's spacewalk, the second of four he and NASA astronaut Bob Behnken will do to replace old station batteries.

These spacewalks are the culmination of a series of power upgrades that began in January 2017 to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium ion batteries.

This spacewalk, similar to one that took place last Friday, will focus on replacing batteries for one of the power channels on the far starboard truss of the station. Before launching from Kazakhstan, the space tourist would need to undergo extra training in Star City, Russia.

Picking-up where they left off a few days ago, two NASA space station astronauts are scheduled to venture back outside the orbiting space station to continue the replacement of ageing batteries in the lab's solar power system. The Russian rocket company Energia has teamed up with Space Adventures for the expedition.

For this second spacewalk, Cassidy will be crew member I and wearing a spacesuit showing red stripes, while Behnken will serve as crew member II in a suit with no stripes. The new lithium-ion batteries should last the rest of the space station's life, according to officials. Any tourist would want multiple practice sessions in order to be "prepared for the space environment".

Working alongside a pallet supported by the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm, the astronauts retrieved and installed one more lithium-ion battery and one more adapter plate, adding to the two new batteries and two adapter plates they put into place on June 26. Some of the bolts required extra muscle.

Between 2017 and January this year 36 old batteries in three of the four sets of solar arrays were replaced - the latest round of spacewalks will finish the job.

During the six hour space walk the pair will also loosen the bolts on other nickel-hydrogen batteries that will be replaced in future spacewalks.

Cassidy inspected his spacesuit sleeve later while in sunlight but didn't see any clues that might explain why the mirror came off. NASA said later that the lost item posed no risk to either the spacewalk or the ISS.

In one such instance, Robert Behnken, an astronaut of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently shared on Twitter stunning images of the demarcation between night and day on the Earth. He's one of two test pilots who launched on SpaceX's first astronaut flight in May.

This will be the eighth time both Cassidy and Behnken have stepped out into space over the course of their career to fix or upgrade the worldwide station.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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