Two astronauts carry out spacewalk to boost ISS’ power grid

Two astronauts carry out spacewalk to boost ISS’ power grid

Two astronauts carried out a trouble-free hours-long spacewalk on Friday to complete an upgrade to the International Space Station’s (ISS’) power supply.

The spacewalk was scheduled to last roughly 6.5 hours, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) successfully complted the mission in merely 3.5 hours.

Yesterday’s spacewalk was the second and final for the orbiting lab’s power upgrade process, which started with robotic work in December 2016. In the two latest spacewalks, astronauts replaced nine old nickel-hydrogen batteries with half a dozen new lithium-ion batteries.

Before the recent spacewalks, a Canadian robotic arm dubbed “Dextre” relocated the new lithium-ion batteries from the HTV-6 cargo spacecraft that reached the space station in December and put them into their slots in the Integrated Electronics Assembly, making it easier for the astronauts to connect them to the power grid.

It was Pesquet’s first spacewalk, while Kimbrough completed the fourth spacewalk of his career. Just last week, Kimbrough performed his third spacewalk with NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson.

The latest spacewalk was the 197th devoted to ISS assembly and maintenance since 1998. More than one hundred astronauts and cosmonauts representing nearly a dozen nations have thus far logged 1,230 hours and 4 minutes of station spacewalk time.


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