Cassidy and Behnken Wrap Up Battery Spacewalk

NASA astronaut Bob Behnken is pictured tethered to the space station during a spacewalk to swap batteries on the orbiting lab's truss structure.
NASA astronaut Bob Behnken is pictured tethered to the space station’s truss structure during a spacewalk to swap batteries and route cables .

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken concluded their spacewalk at 12:14 p.m. EDT. During the six hour and one-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts completed half the work to upgrade the batteries that provide power for one channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays. The new batteries provide an improved and more efficient power capacity for operations.

They successfully moved and connected one new, powerful lithium-ion battery and its adapter place to complete the circuit to the new battery and relocated one aging nickel-hydrogen battery to an external platform for future disposal.

They also loosened the bolts on nickel-hydrogen batteries that will be replaced to complete the power capability upgrade on the far starboard truss and complete the station’s battery replacement work that began in January 2017 with the first series of power upgrade spacewalks. Behnken and Cassidy will complete the work during the final two spacewalks later this month.

Cassidy and Behnken also will route power and ethernet cables in preparation for the installation of a new external wireless communications system with an enhanced HD camera and to increase helmet camera coverage for future spacewalks. To support future power system upgrades, they also will remove a device called an “H-Fixture” that was installed before the solar arrays were launched to the space station.

This was the eighth spacewalk for both each astronaut. Cassidy now has spent a total of 43 hours and 22 minutes spacewalking. Behnken has now spent a total of 49 hours and 41 minutes spacewalking.

Space station crew members have conducted 229 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 60 days and 34 minutes working outside the station.

At 4 p.m. today, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will discuss her upcoming second mission to the International Space Station, along with cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, during a news conference from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston that will be broadcast live on NASA Television and on the agency’s website.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Astronauts Spacewalking Live Now on NASA TV

NASA astronauts (from top) Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken work on U.S. spacesuits inside the International Space Station's Quest airlock.
NASA astronauts (from top) Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken work on U.S. spacesuits inside the International Space Station’s Quest airlock.

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken have begun the second of two scheduled spacewalks to replace batteries on one of two power channels on the far starboard truss (S6 Truss) of the International Space Station.

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:13 a.m. EDT to begin the spacewalk, which may last as long as seven hours.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

Cassidy is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the spacesuit with red stripes, and using helmet camera #18. Behnken is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the spacesuit with no stripes and helmet camera #20. It is the eighth spacewalk for both astronauts and the 229th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance.

The spacewalkers will be removing the sixth nickel-hydrogen battery for this channel and replace it with a new lithium-ion battery and an adapter plate that arrived on a Japanese cargo ship last month. The swap will upgrade the station’s power supply by replacing the batteries that store power generated by the station’s solar arrays and provide it to the microgravity laboratory when the station is not in sunlight as it circles Earth during orbital night.

Cassidy and Behnken also will route power and ethernet cables and do work to prepare for future power system upgrades.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV is Live Now as Astronauts Get Ready for Spacewalk

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy is pictured during a spacewalk in July of 2013
NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy is pictured during a spacewalk in July of 2013 when he was an Expedition 36 Flight Engineer.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken is now underway and available on the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 63 are preparing to venture outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 7:35 a.m. EDT and last as long as seven hours.

The crew is in the airlock and have put on their spacesuits in preparation to exit the airlock and begin today’s activities working on one of two power channels on the far starboard truss (S6 Truss) of the station.

The primary tasks for today are to install one more lithium-ion battery and one more adapter plate and remove the sixth nickel-hydrogen battery that will no longer be used. The batteries store electricity for one pair of the station’s solar arrays. They also will do some advance work for the final two spacewalks for the battery upgrades, route power and ethernet cables to provide better views on future spacewalks, and release a device in support of future power system upgrades.

Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Royce Renfrew with support from Jaclyn Kagey as the lead spacewalk officer.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.