Spacewalkers Complete Battery Swaps for Station Power Upgrades

Spacewalkers Nick Hague and Anne McClain
NASA astronauts Nick Hague (top) and Anne McClain work to swap batteries in the Port-4 truss structure during today’s spacewalk.

Expedition 59 Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Anne McClain of NASA concluded their spacewalk at 1:40 p.m. EDT. During the six-hour, 39-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully replaced nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays.

Astronauts were also able to accomplish several get-ahead tasks including removing debris from outside of the station.

These new batteries provide an improved power capacity for operations with a lighter mass and a smaller volume than the nickel-hydrogen batteries. Next week, McClain and flight engineer Christina Koch are scheduled to venture outside on the March 29 spacewalk to work on a second set of battery replacements on a different power channel in the same area of the station. This would be the first-ever spacewalk with all-female spacewalkers.

Hague and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency are scheduled to conduct a third spacewalk April 8 to lay out jumper cables between the Unity module and the S0 truss, at the midpoint of the station’s backbone. This work will establish a redundant path of power to the Canadian-built robotic arm, known as Canadarm2. They also will install cables to provide for more expansive wireless communications coverage outside the orbital complex, as well as for enhanced hardwired computer network capability.

Space station crew members have conducted 214 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of XXXX hours and XX minutes working outside the station.

Keep up with the crew aboard the International Space Station on the agency’s blog, follow @ISS on Instagram, and @space_station on Twitter.

Spacewalkers Working Outside to Upgrade Station Power

NASA astronaut Nick Hague
NASA astronaut Nick Hague verifies his U.S. spacesuit is sized correctly and fits properly ahead of a set of upcoming spacewalks.

Two astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 8:01 a.m. EDT aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about six-and-a-half hours.

Expedition 59 Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Anne McClain 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. McClain is designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes, and with the helmet camera labeled #20. Hague is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and with helmet camera #17.

The batteries store power generated by the station’s solar arrays to provide power to the station when the station is not in the sunlight, as it orbits the Earth during orbital night. Next week, McClain and flight engineer Christina Koch are scheduled to venture outside on the March 29 spacewalk to work on a second set of battery replacements on a different power channel in the same area of the station. Additional batteries will be replaced as part of this power upgrade over the next couple of years as new batteries are delivered to station.

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

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates online. Learn more about the International Space Station online, including additional information about the current crew members.

NASA TV Broadcasts Station Spacewalk Live Today

NASA astronaut Nick Hague
NASA astronaut Nick Hague verifies his U.S. spacesuit is sized correctly and fits properly ahead of a set of upcoming spacewalks.

Expedition 59 Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Anne McClain of NASA will begin a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station at about 8 a.m. EDT Friday, March 22. NASA Television coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 6:30 a.m.

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

This will be the 214th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. McClain will be designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes. Hague will be designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes.

This is the first of two battery replacement spacewalks this month. McClain and Hague will replace nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays. The batteries were transported to the station in September aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle. The spacewalking work continues the overall upgrade of the station’s power system that began with similar battery replacement during spacewalks in January 2017.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates online. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Final Suit Checks and Reviews before Friday’s Spacewalk

Astronaut Anne McClain assists fellow astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Nick Hague
NASA astronaut Anne McClain assists fellow NASA astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Nick Hague as they verify their U.S. spacesuits are sized correctly and fit properly ahead of a set of upcoming spacewalks.

Two Expedition 59 astronauts are checking their spacesuits today and reviewing procedures one final time before tomorrow’s spacewalk. The other four residents aboard the International Space Station assisted the spacewalkers, maintained the orbital lab and conducted space science.

NASA Flight Engineers Anne McClain and Nick Hague readied the Quest airlock today where they will begin the first spacewalk of 2019 Friday at 8:05 a.m. EDT. The spacewalkers will work outside for about 6.5 hours of battery upgrade work on the Port-4 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live spacewalk coverage at 6:30 a.m.

VIDEO: NASA experts discuss the upcoming power upgrade spacewalks

The duo also confirmed their U.S. spacesuits are ready for the excursion with all the necessary components, such as helmet lights and communications gear, installed. Afterward, Hague and McClain conducted one more spacewalk timeline review.

They then joined astronauts Christina Koch and David Saint-Jacques for a final conference with spacewalk experts in Mission Control. Both astronauts also charged and set up GoPro cameras before attaching them to the spacewalkers’ suit helmets.

Koch started her day cleaning ventilation screens in the Unity module and installing lights in the Permanent Multi-purpose Module. Saint-Jacques set up the AstroPi science education hardware in the Harmony module’s window then swapped fan cables in the Life Sciences Glovebox.

Commander Oleg Kononenko and fellow cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin spent the majority of their day in the station’s Russian segment. Kononenko and Ovchinin first collected and stowed their blood samples in a science freezer for a Russian metabolism experiment. Ovchinin then unpacked supplies from the recently arrived Soyuz MS-12 crew ship. Kononenko also worked on heart and radiation detection research before assisting the U.S. spacewalkers.

Astronauts Gear Up for Spacewalk and Get Up to Date on Station Safety

NASA astronaut and Expedition 59 Flight Engineer Christina Koch
NASA astronaut and Expedition 59 Flight Engineer Christina Koch familiarizes herself with International Space Station hardware inside the Unity module.

The Expedition 59 crew is busy preparing for the first spacewalk of 2019 set to begin in just two days. Meanwhile, the orbital residents are still exploring the effects of space on their bodies while familiarizing themselves with emergency hardware.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Anne McClain continued organizing their tools this morning ahead of Friday morning’s spacewalk. The duo will enter the Quest module’s crew airlock and their spacesuits will go on battery power Friday around 8:05 a.m. EDT signaling the beginning of the spacewalk.

VIDEO: NASA experts discuss the upcoming power upgrade spacewalks

Hague and McClain will spend about six-and-a-half hours upgrading the International Space Station’s storage capacity. They will swap out old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries and install battery adapter plates on the Port-4 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live space coverage Friday at 6:30 a.m.

Hague started Wednesday, however, in the Columbus lab module helping scientists understand how microgravity impacts the perception of time. McClain collected light measurements in the afternoon from two laboratory modules and the Quest airlock to document how new station LED lights affect crew wellness.

The station’s latest crew arrivals spent a couple of hours Wednesday morning checking out safety and communications gear. Hague along with Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Alexey Ovchinin split their time between the station’s U.S. and Russian segments looking at emergency hardware and procedures.

Human Research and Spacewalk Computer Training on Orbital Lab

NASA astronauts Nick Hague, Anne McClain and Christina Koch (right) work on U.S. spacesuit maintenance in the Quest airlock of the International Space Station.

The Expedition 59 crew continued gearing up for Friday’s spacewalk amid a variety of human research activities today. Meanwhile, the three newest International Space Station crewmembers found time to get up to speed on lab systems and life in space.

Friday’s spacewalkers will be NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Nick Hague. The duo started the day getting tools ready and using 3-D computer software to review spacewalk procedures and robotics maneuvers. Flight Engineers David Saint-Jacques and Christina Koch joined McClain and Hague at the end of the day for an hour-long conference with spacewalk experts in Mission Control.

The spacewalkers will work for about six hours on the Port-4 truss structure swapping batteries and installing adapter plates. Friday’s spacewalk to upgrade the station’s power storage capacity begins at 8:05 a.m. EDT. NASA TV’s live spacewalk coverage begins at 6:30 a.m.

Life science continued full-speed ahead today despite the spacewalk preparations and a new crew getting used to microgravity. Hague, Koch and Saint-Jacques drew their blood samples throughout Tuesday and stowed them in science freezers for later analysis.

Koch also spent a couple of hours in the Columbus lab module on the Vection study exploring how microgravity affects her perception. Saint-Jacques prepared Marrow experiment gear for return on an upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.

Flight Engineers Alexey Ovchinin, Hague and Koch spent each about an hour familiarizing themselves with station facilities today. The new trio will orbit Earth for at least six-and-a-half months.

New Trio Gets Used to Station Life before First of Three Spacewalks

The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft that launched three new Expedition 59-60 crew members to the International Space Station is pictured docked to the Rassvet module. Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin from Roscosmos commanded the Soyuz crew ship flanked by NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch during the five-hour, 47-minute trip that began at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Expedition 59 crew is getting ready for the first of three spacewalks just days after the arrival of three new crew members to the International Space Station last week. All six crewmates also reviewed emergency procedures today while the new trio becomes accustomed to life on the orbital lab.

NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Nick Hague will exit the space station Friday for a six-hour spacewalk beginning at 8:05 a.m. EDT live on NASA TV. The duo will continue the ongoing work to upgrade the station’s power storage capacity. McClain and Hague will replace older nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries and install new adapter plates on the space lab’s Port-4 truss structure.

The crew will be readying spacesuits and tools and reviewing spacewalk procedures all week long. This morning, Hague joined Flight Engineers David Saint-Jacques and Christina Koch and sized U.S. spacesuits in the Quest airlock. McClain verified the functionality of the spacesuit SAFER jet packs, also known as Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue.

At the end of the day, all six crew members gathered together to coordinate their actions in the unlikely event of an emergency aboard the station. The crew reviewed escape paths to their Soyuz lifeboats and safe havens for access to safety gear and a breathable atmosphere.

In the midst of the spacewalk preparations and the safety training, the three new flight engineers are also familiarizing themselves with station systems. Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin is beginning his second mission aboard the orbital lab since March 2016. Hague and Koch, both members of NASA’s 2013 class of astronauts, are each on their first mission aboard the space station.

Vice President Calls Station, Crew Dragon Packed for Friday Return

Vice President Mike Pence and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
Vice President Mike Pence and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called up to the Expedition 58 crew today from NASA Headquarters Space Operations Center in Washington, D.C..

Vice President Mike Pence and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called up to the Expedition 58 crew today. Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques were on hand to talk about their mission success and the arrival of the first Commercial Crew vehicle, the SpaceX Crew Dragon.

The Crew Dragon is being packed and readied for its return to Earth on Friday. In the midst of NASA’s first Commercial Crew mission, the crew members continued more space research and practiced an emergency drill today.

Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency transferred cargo in and out of the Crew Dragon today. Over 300 pounds of science gear, crew supplies and station hardware will be retrieved from Dragon after it returns to Earth.

The Crew Dragon will undock Friday at 2:31 a.m. EST from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter. It will parachute to a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean around 8:45 a.m. EST. NASA TV will cover all the activities live.

Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques
Astronauts David Saint-Jacques (left) and Anne McClain talk to the Vice President and NASA Administrator about their mission success and the arrival of the SpaceX Crew Dragon.

McClain from NASA worked in the Destiny laboratory module today stowing science hardware after working on the Microgravity Sciences Glovebox. She then began collecting and readying more experiment hardware that will test ways to improve the production of higher-quality semiconductor crystals.

Both astronauts then joined Commander Oleg Kononenko from Roscosmos to practice an emergency evacuation of the International Space Station. The trio wore breathing masks, entered the docked Soyuz spacecraft and prepared for a return to Earth in the unlikely event of a critical emergency aboard the orbital complex.

Crew Resumes Normal Ops Before Crew Dragon Leaves Friday

Astronauts (from left) Anne McClain and David Saint Jacques
Astronauts (from left) Anne McClain and David Saint Jacques are pictured in between a pair of spacesuits that are stowed and serviced inside the Quest airlock where U.S. spacewalks are staged.

The three Expedition 58 crew members are back to normal operations today with the newest SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship integrated to the International Space Station. Dragon will leave the station Friday as the next crew prepares to launch on March 14.

Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques called down to mission controllers today to discuss Crew Dragon operations. The duo also linked up with SpaceX personnel throughout the United States describing life on orbit and their impressions of the new crew vehicle.

McClain started today resizing U.S. spacesuits ahead of a set of spacewalks planned for March and April. She later worked on life support systems and plumbing maintenance in the Unity and Tranquility modules.

Saint-Jacques collected station water samples for microbial analysis. He then inspected tethers the astronauts will use to stay attached to the station during the upcoming spacewalks.

Commander Oleg Kononenko replaced fuel bottles used during experiment operations inside the Combustion Integrated Rack. The veteran cosmonaut also explored low temperature gas mixtures for the Plasma Krysyall-4 experiment collaboration between Europe and Russia.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon undocks Friday at 2:31 a.m. EST. Splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean is scheduled around 8:45 a.m. EST. NASA TV will cover all the activities live after closing the hatch Thursday.

On the other side of the world in Kazakhstan, three new Expedition 59 crew members are in final training awaiting their launch to the station. Commander Alexey Ovchinin and Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Christina Koch are set to blastoff March 14 at 3:14 p.m. and dock less than six hours later to their new home in space.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Hatch Open

Expedition 58 crew members enter the SpaceX Crew Dragon
Expedition 58 crew members enter the SpaceX Crew Dragon for the first time. They are wearing protective gear to avoid breathing particulate matter that may shaken loose during launch.

Aboard the space station, NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, and Russian cosmonaut and Expedition 58 commander Oleg Kononenko opened the hatch between the Crew Dragon and the orbital laboratory at 8:07 a.m. EST.

The crew members opened the hatch to Crew Dragon following standard leak checks and pressurization since the spacecraft completed its hard dock to the station at 6:02 a.m., the first autonomous docking of any U.S. spacecraft to the International Space Station.

In addition to carrying Ripley, an anthropomorphic test device outfitted with sensors to provide data about potential effects on future astronauts who will travel in the Crew Dragon. NASA also sent more than 400 pounds of crew supplies and equipment to the space station, including bulk overwrap bags containing more than 1,000 food and drink packages for the crew.

For operational missions, Crew Dragon will be able to launch as many as four crew members and carry more than 220 pounds of cargo, enabling the expansion of the inhabitants of the space station, increasing the time dedicated to research in the unique microgravity environment, and returning more science back to Earth.

The Expedition 58 crew members will host a welcoming ceremony for the Crew Dragon that will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 10:45 a.m.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

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