Today, Tuesday, July 21, two NASA astronauts will perform the second in a pair of International Space Station (ISS) spacewalks. This historic space mission is expected to wrap-up efforts to upgrade the station’s power system.
This has seen 24 new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates replace 48 ageing nickel-hydrogen batteries.
The astronauts will shift gears and remove two lifting fixtures used for ground processing of the station’s solar arrays prior to their launch
NASA TV’s live coverage of the spacewalk will begin on Tuesday at 11am BST (6.00am EDT).
The actual spacewalk is scheduled to commence at 12.35pm BST (7.35am EDT).
And the ‘extravehicular activity’ will last as long as seven hours.
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Today’s marathon spacewalk sees NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken remove two lifting fixtures used for ground processing of the station’s solar arrays prior to their launch.
The pair are also preparing the Tranquility module for the installation of a commercial airlock scheduled to arrive on a SpaceX cargo flight later this year.
The airlock will be used to deploy commercial and government-sponsored experiments into space.
Behnken will be designated extravehicular crew member one for the spacewalk.
He will be identifiable in his spacesuit with red stripes.
Extravehicular crew member two Cassidy will be wearing a suit without any stripes.
On the July 16 spacewalk, the astronauts removed six ageing nickel-hydrogen batteries for the second of two power channels for the starboard 6 (S6) truss.
They also installed three new lithium-ion batteries, in addition to three associated adapter plates used to complete the power circuit to the new batteries.
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Mission Control confirmed all three new batteries are working.
US-based space agency NASA said in a statement: “The astronauts will shift gears and remove two lifting fixtures used for ground processing of the station’s solar arrays prior to their launch.
“They’ll also begin preparing the Tranquillity module for the installation of a commercial airlock provided by NanoRacks and scheduled to arrive on a SpaceX cargo flight later this year.
“The airlock will be used to deploy commercial and government-sponsored experiments into space.”
Battery replacement while wearing cumbersome spacesuits is an extremely complex job.
The mission is focussed on both the starboard and port sides of the station’s truss structure.
This is where the basketball court-sized solar arrays are located.
The solar arrays slowly rotate around the truss structure and track the sun, but are locked into place during the spacewalks.
In all, 12 spacewalks will have been performed since January 2017 to change out batteries for eight power channels used to route electricity on the station.
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