Two astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 7:23 a.m. EST aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about six-and-a-half hours. Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA will install adapter plates and hook up electrical connections for three of six new lithium-ion batteries installed on the station’s starboard truss.
Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.
The batteries were delivered to the space station Dec. 13 by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV). Earlier this week, the Canadian-built “Dextre” Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator installed three new lithium-ion batteries in the space station’s 3A power channel Integrated Electronics Assembly (IEA) pallet on the starboard truss. Dextre also removed four old nickel-hydrogen batteries from the IEA.
The robotic work cleared the way for Kimbrough and Whitson’s spacewalk today. The duo will install three adapter plates in slots on the IEA to which three of the old batteries will be mounted to remain on station, but will be dormant. In all, nine old nickel-hydrogen batteries will be stowed on the external pallet for disposal when the HTV is deorbited to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere later this month.
Kimbrough is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit bearing red stripes. Whitson is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes. Both will wear helmet cameras. Kimbrough is camera 18, and Whitson is camera 20.
Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates online. Learn more about the International Space Station online, including additional information about the current crew members.