Astronauts complete power upgrades for space station

NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins works on the P4 truss during the first spacewalk of 2021. During their second spacewalk he and astronaut Victor Glover worked to finish a battery upgrade project that was started four years ago. Credit NASA

They're incredible to such an extent that solitary half as many are required as the old nickel-hydrogen batteries they supplanted.

Two additional spacewalks are planned for the near future. With the battery work complete, the focus turns to solar array augmentation.

Glover's own feelings about what it's like to embark on a debut spacewalk 250 miles above Earth will be fresh in his own mind as it took place just a few days ago.

The space agency will be streaming the entire spacewalk online.

NASA astronauts, Victor Glover Jr. and Mike Hopkins, have recently conducted a spacewalk.

The launch will be operated by SpaceX, under contract with NASA, following the first launch last November.

After years of research and 14 spacewalks to replace the aging batteries that are part of the electrical system upgrade in the space station, it finally happened.

In addition to battery function, Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Glover mounted a new camera outside the station's Japanese lab, called Kibo, or Hope in English, in the US Destiny lab and removed parts of the camera device. NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra released brake handles on crew equipment carts on either side of the space stations mobile transporter rail auto so it could be latched in place ahead of Wednesdays docking of a Russian cargo resupply spacecraft. Two NASA astronauts, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, one JAXA (Japanese Space Agency) astronaut, Akihiko Hoshide, and one ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut, Thomas Pesquet, will journey collectively to the ISS.

NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins right and Victor Glover right seen in their spacesuits before the first spacewalk of 2021. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins in the black shirt worked with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi in the red shirt assisted the spacew
WATCH LIVE: NASA Spacewalk happening now

NASA will perform two further in around a month to prepare for more solar panels scheduled for launch later this year.

Changing batteries in space needs careful planning and training.

The astronauts will then move to the space stations's opposite side in order to concentrate on other important upgrades. That might sound straightforward, but these battery packs are very big, and the process of removal and installation is certainly a challenge.

The spacewalk began at 7 a.m. ET and is expected to last for six and a half hours.

They will then connect the adapter to a battery all installed by a robot before this spacewalk started. "It will be the first mission to fly two worldwide partner crew members as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Program", NASA said in an official release.

As soon as the station crosses the terminator line, the batteries of the station provide stored power to be routed through the space station.

The ISS uses batteries to store energy harnessed from the sun with its solar panels, and it taps into those reserves every time it doesn't have access to sunlight.


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