Two NASA astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 6:35 a.m. EST to begin today’s spacewalk. Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are entering into the vacuum of space for about six-and-a-half-hours to finish replacing nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries that store and distribute power generated by the station’s solar arrays on the station’s port truss. The lithium-ion batteries provide an improved power capacity for operations with a lighter mass and a smaller volume than the nickel-hydrogen batteries.
Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.
Meir is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes, and with helmet camera #11. Koch is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and her helmet camera is labeled #18.
Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will assist the spacewalkers. Parmitano will control the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan will provide airlock and spacesuit support.
The primary tasks for the spacewalkers after preparing their worksite will be to complete the replacement of older batteries on the far port truss of the station by removing the last two nickel-hydrogen batteries from that truss’ power system and installing a sixth and final new lithium-ion battery.
The astronauts are expected to tackle a number of additional tasks, if time permits, including the removal of lens filters from a pair of cameras on the station’s exterior.