Spacewalking astronauts swap out space station’s batteries


Two NASA astronauts - Nick Hague and Anne McClain - have successfully completed an over six hour spacewalk and replaced the ageing batteries on the International Space Station (ISS).

With the three power channel 4A lithium-ion batteries already in place, McClain and Hague had to install three adapter plates in slots two, four and six to tie the new batteries into the station's solar array power system and to provide storage locations for the two older batteries that were still in place when the spacewalk began. Hague, EV-2, is wearing an unmarked suit and using helmet camera 17.

Ms McClain and Mr Hague will replace nickel-hydrogen batteries that power a section of solar arrays.

NASA said the astronauts also accomplished several get-ahead tasks, including scraping up bits of debris on the station's exterior and photographing a bag of fix tools and the airlock thermal cover that's opened and closed for spacewalks.

More news: Sizzling Tea Practically Doubles Threat Of Esophageal Most cancers: Research
More news: Chris Sale reportedly close to agreement on extension with Red Sox
More news: Tesla Sues Former Employees for Theft of Autopilot Code, Trade Secrets

Most of the station's current batteries are nickel-hydrogen, which must be replaced every six years or so, much like any other rechargeable battery. This will mark the first all-female spacewalk, a historic event. Their work will continue the years-long process of upgrading the station's eight main power channels, which are crucial for keeping the ISS functioning. NASA is about halfway through replacing 48 batteries with ones that are expected to last the remainder of the station's life.

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

Just like here on Earth, lithium-ion has become the battery technology of choice for NASA.

This battery swap operation still has a long way to go, though. When the space station is in full sunlight it stores the extra power that isn't immediately being used. She will be joined by flight engineer Christina Koch.