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Astronauts Replacing Old Batteries with New Massive Size Batteries

On Sunday Astronauts cease the first of five spacewalks to replace previous batteries on the International Space Station.

Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are going to remove a pair of old batteries and set up a new one delivered just a week ago. These new lithium-ion batteries are so highly effective that only one is required for every two old ones, that are original to the orbiting lab.

The 400-pound (180-kilogram) batteries half the size of a refrigerator are part of the space station’s solar power network. Astronauts have been upgrading them since 2017. They’re halfway accomplished. The previous batteries are ten years old; the new ones are anticipated to last until the end of the space station’s life.

These newest battery swaps are particularly challenging given the last location on the station’s sprawling frame. It is too far for the 58-foot (17-meter) robot arm to reach, forcing astronauts to lug the batteries back and forth themselves. That is why so many spacewalks are needed this time to replace 12 old nickel-hydrogen batteries with six new lithium-ion versions.

After removing the previous battery, Koch and Morgan took turns holding it as they made their means, inchworm style, to a storage platform where it required to be placed. The battery was so big that it blocked the spacewalkers’ views of one another, prompting constant updates.  Koch mentioned at one point that he is right next to them. He has the battery, Morgan replied. Then Koch had the battery, so it went until it was in its last spot.

Next, the new battery for the installation came, with an identical methodical handover.

Before the heavy lifting, the astronauts had time to take in the view 250 miles (400 kilometers) below.

NASA is planning to wrap up the five battery spacewalks this month, followed by a Russian spacewalk. Then five more U.S.-Italian spacewalks can be conducted in November and December to fix a key science instrument. NASA is calling it a “spacewalk bonanza.”

This unusual crush of spacewalks will feature the first all-female spacewalk by Koch and Jessica Meir later this month.

Koch is two-thirds of the best way through a more than 300-day mission. It will be the longest single spaceflight by a woman.

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