NASA astronauts take a spacewalk to improve the power of the space station

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The spacewalk began at 7:32 a.m.ET on Friday. They reached their place of work on the station about an hour’s walk.

At the start of the spacewalk while Cassidy was coming out of the space station hatch, her left wrist mirror detached and flew away, but this poses no risk to the crew and the march continued as planned, according to NASA. Mirrors allow them to see aspects of their combinations, such as labels, switches and actuators, which are otherwise out of sight. Cassidy can use the mirror on her right wrist for the duration of the spacewalk.

The two astronauts are seasoned astronauts. It will be Cassidy’s seventh outdoor adventure and Behnken’s eighth. They will make a second spacewalk on July 1.

Behnken, with NASA astronaut Doug Hurley, took off from the United States and joined Cassidy on the space station on May 31. They were aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon during the Demo-2 mission.

These spacewalks are the culmination of a series of electrical upgrades that began in January 2017 to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries arrived last month on a Japanese freighter.

These two spacewalks will focus on replacing the batteries in one of the starboard beam supply channels distant from the station.

This task, however, is nothing like replacing the batteries in your remote control. These batteries are large, based on NASA’s animation shared in a tweet. Astronauts will make several trips back and forth along the farm to remove and replace each battery, using footrests to help maintain their position and hand tools for adjustments.

For the two spacewalks, Cassidy will be a crew member I and will wear a spacesuit showing red stripes, while Behnken will serve as a crew member II in a striped suit. Hurley and Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner will help Cassidy and Behnken in their space suits. Hurley will leverage the station’s robotic arm to support one of two spacewalks.

The battery replacements, which will have a lifespan of 20 years, will place the station in a much better configuration in the long term, said Kenneth Todd, deputy program director of the International Space Station, at a press conference at NASA Wednesday.

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Future spacewalks during the summer will replace the batteries in a second power channel.

Behnken recently discussed the spacewalk, and why it’s important to replace the batteries, during a call to CNN innovation space station and space reporter Rachel Crane.

Astronauts work on the distant starboard beam (S6 beam) from the space station.

“When the space station is in the sun, it collects energy and must be stored when it is in the dark,” he said. “And so these batteries, as they are cycled over and over again, they wear out and need to be replaced. And therefore periodically that maintenance is necessary. ”

Behnken said he is looking forward to another spacewalk experience.

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“I’m really looking forward to seeing Earth when we have some free time,” he said. “I think every astronaut, when they go on their first spacewalk, they are really focused on trying to do all the activities and do a good job so that they can probably have a chance to do it another if the opportunity arises. .

“But after making a couple and knowing what to expect as you go along, it’s important, you know, to take mental pictures, mental pictures, or to remember what it was like to be outside. “

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