NASA astronauts complete power upgrade spacewalk

Washington: Two NASA astronauts have successfully completed a spacewalk lasting over six hours to install power upgrades on the International Space Station (ISS).

During the spacewalk, Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson installed three new adapter plates and hooked up electrical connections for three of the six new lithium-ion batteries on the International Space Station.

They also accomplished several get-ahead tasks, including a photo survey of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer during the six-hour and 32-minute spacewalk.

The new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates replace the nickel-hydrogen batteries currently used on the station to store electrical energy generated by the station’s solar arrays.

Robotic work to update the batteries began in January. This was the first of two spacewalks planned to finalise the installation.

Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of European Space Agency will conduct the second spacewalk on January 13.

Kimbrough will be designated extravehicular crew member 1, wearing a suit bearing red stripes for the fourth spacewalk of his career.

Pesquet, who will be making the first spacewalk of his career, will be extravehicular crew member 2, and will wear a suit with no stripes.

Space station crew members have conducted 196 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory.

Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,224 hours and 6 minutes working outside the station.