NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken are gearing up for their final two spacewalks that will wrap up work on upgrading the power system on the International Space Station (ISS).
Other astronauts have been working on overhauling the system since 2017, with Cassidy and Behnken in recent weeks performing two spacewalks that continued with the task. On July 16 and July 21, the pair will aim to bring the work to a close.
The final pair of battery swap spacewalks starts Thursday. An exo-planet and an Earth re-entry microsatellite were deployed today as the Exp 63 crew conducted bone and heart research. More… https://t.co/gCcwCXNo5b pic.twitter.com/HTLoyUyy15
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) July 13, 2020
During Thursday’s outing, Cassidy, commander of the space station’s current Expedition 63, and flight engineer Behnken, who arrived at the ISS at the end of May with Doug Hurley via SpaceX’s first-ever crewed flight, will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion ones on the Starboard-6 truss structure.
“During the July 16 spacewalk, they plan to remove five of six older nickel-hydrogen batteries for the truss’ power system and install three new lithium-ion batteries, as well as accompanying hardware,” NASA said on its website.
Once the power upgrades are done, Behnken and Cassidy, who have each completed eight spacewalks across several missions at the space station, will turn their attention to other work, including preparing the Tranquility module for the installation of a commercial airlock provided by NanoRacks that’s set to arrive on a SpaceX cargo flight later this year. The airlock will be used to deploy commercial and government-sponsored experiments into space, NASA said.
Notably, the pair’s final spacewalk on July 21 will mark the 300th such outing involving U.S. astronauts since Ed White stepped out of his Gemini 4 capsule in June 1965.
If you want to enjoy the spectacle of seeing two astronauts working on the exterior of the space station as it orbits Earth about 250 miles up, then head to NASA’s website or YouTube channel on Thursday at around 7:30 a.m. when the walk is scheduled to start. The work is expected to take up to seven hours, so you’re good to drop by anytime during the morning and early afternoon.