NASA Astronauts Upgrade ISS Power Grid During Second Spacewalk

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken completed a new successful spacewalk as the pair replaced ion batteries tied to one of the power channels used by the station. The spacewalk lasted for six hours and one minute, and all the goals were achieved without problems.

Both astronauts are quite experienced as this was their eight spacewalks outside the International Space Station. Behnken and Dough Hurtley, a fellow NASA astronaut, reached the ISS at the end of May aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon, with the flight being a part of the Demo-2 mission.

Power upgrades

Several spacewalks have targeted the power grid of the ISS since January 2017, with the main aim being the replacement of aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer lithium-ion batteries, which offer superior performance and are more reliable in the long run.

During the recent spacewalk, the team managed to replace batteries tied to power channels found on the far starboard truss of the station. Since the previous spacewalk was quite productive, the team managed to complete additional tasks, laying the foundation for more upgrades that will take place in the future.


During the spacewalk, Cassidy wore a striped suit as crew member one while Behnken wore a plain suit and acted as crew member suit. The two were helped during the suit dressing sage by Russian astronaut Ivan Vagner while Doug Hurtley operated the electronic arm of the station, which handles support tasks during spacewalks.

The new batteries have a lifetime of 20 years, which is a great boon for the station according to a statement offered by a NASA employee last week. Behnken mentioned during an interview that took place before the spacewalk that replacing is the batteries is a very important tasks while also adding that he is looking forward to the spacewalk.

Both astronauts returned inside the ISS without incidents.

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