Friday’s spacewalk began at 7:32 am ET. They arrived at their workplace at the station about an hour after the walk. Astronauts stayed ahead during the walk and began the tasks originally scheduled for next Wednesday’s spacewalk.
At the beginning of the spacewalk, when Cassidy exited the space station hatch, her left wrist mirror came off and flew out, but it poses no risk to the crew, and the walk continued as planned, according to NASA. Mirrors allow them to see aspects of their suits, such as labels, switches, and actuators, that would otherwise be out of sight. Cassidy can use the mirror on her right wrist during the spacewalk.
Both astronauts are veteran spacewalkers. This is Cassidy’s seventh adventure outside and Behnken’s eighth. They will conduct a second similar spacewalk on July 1.
These spacewalks are the culmination of a series of power upgrades that started in January 2017 to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries arrived last month on a Japanese cargo ship.
These two spacewalks will focus on replacing the batteries in one of the power channels in the station’s starboard frame.
This task, however, is nothing. how to replace the batteries in your remote control. These batteries are large, based on animation that NASA shared in a tweet. New batteries have a mass of 428 pounds each.
Astronauts will make several round trips along the truss to remove and replace each battery, using foot restraints to help maintain their position and hand tools for adjustments.
For both spacewalks, Cassidy will be a member of crew I and will wear a red striped space suit, while Behnken will serve as a crew member II in a non-striped suit. Hurley and Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner will help Cassidy and Behnken put on their space suits. Hurley will operate the station’s robotic arm to support one of the two spacewalks.
The battery replacements, which will have a 20-year lifespan, will put the station in a much better configuration in the long term, Kenneth Todd, deputy director of the International Space Station program, said during a NASA press conference on Wednesday.
Future summer spacewalks will replace the batteries in a second power channel.
Behnken recently discussed the spacewalk, and why it’s important to replace batteries, during a call to CNN space and innovation journalist Rachel Crane’s space station.
“When the space station is in the sun, it is collecting energy and needs to store it when it is in the dark,” he said. “And those batteries, as they are recycled over and over again, wear out and need to be replaced. And periodically, maintenance is required.”
Behnken said he is expecting another spacewalk experience.
“I really look forward to the views of Earth when we have a spare moment,” he said. “I think every astronaut, when they go out on their first spacewalk, is really focused on trying to do all the activities and do a good job so that they can get a chance to do another one if the opportunity arises.
“But after you’ve made a couple and know what to expect as you drive through it, it’s important, you know, to take some mental photographs, some mental images, or remember what it was like to be outside.”