Spacewalking astronauts carry out battery replacements on ISS

James Marshall
July 3, 2020

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 global station.

They stepped out from the Quest airlock to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries that arrived on a Japanese cargo spaceship last month.

Behnken, who is now aboard the International Space Station, shared the unique view of our planet that most of us will never have a chance to witness.

However, the original batteries are wearing out, and US-based space agency NASA is in the process of replacing all 48 with 24 more powerful lithium-ion power packs and circuit-completing adapter plates. 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.

NASA astronauts and SpaceX's Crew Dragon commander Doug Hurley along with Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner will help Cassidy and Behnken during today's walk.

With their main chore completed, Cassidy and Behnken jumped ahead to loosen the bolts on the batch of old batteries coming out next time and remove other equipment. The flight would take up two tourists in 2023, one of whom would step outside.

On 26 June, NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken conducted the first of four spacewalks.

"Boy, it put up a good fight", Cassidy radioed. "These batteries, they like their home".

NASA considers spacewalks one of the riskiest parts of any mission, and astronauts spend hours practicing underwater - the closest simulation to spacewalking on Earth.

"I think it could be really challenging for a tourist to go on a spacewalk", Behnken said.

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.

Spacewalking astronauts wear a mirror on each sleeve in order to see the displays on their chest control panel.

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. The astronaut who has been on the ISS for nearly a month now shared two pictures on Twitter and wrote, "My favorite views of our planet that capture the boundary between night and day".

Cassidy and Behnken also will route power and ethernet cables in preparation for the installation of a new external wireless communications system.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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