NASA’s Anne McClain and Nick Hague swapped out aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with a set of more powerful lithium-ion batteries during a spacewalk March 22, 2019. A week later, and another spacewalk took place outside the International Space Station (ISS).
The second spacewalk, featuring Hague and flight engineer Christina Koch, continued the work of the first, installing adapter plates and completing “electrical connections for three of six new lithium-ion batteries for the station’s port truss. The batteries store power generated by the station’s solar arrays to provide power to the microgravity laboratory when the station is not in sunlight as it circles Earth during orbital night,” according to NASA.
You can learn more about how the space station uses solar energy in the video below.
One of the new Li-ion batteries isn’t behaving as planned, reportedly not holding a charge. To maintain an optimal space station power supply, the new battery will have to be removed, putting back into place the two older nickel-hydrogen batteries. So, another part of the March 29 mission consisted of preparing the robotic operators for this battery replacement, handled by Hague.
Koch, on the other, prepared “the worksite for the delivery of the next six new lithium ion batteries that will arrive to the station aboard a Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle later this year to upgrade a third set of the solar arrays,” according to NASA.
Koch and McClain were originally on the schedule for the March 29 spacewalk. After McClain needed a different sized spacesuit, NASA altered the assignment to protect the safety of the crew and timing of the two resupply spacecraft. In a post, NASA shed more insight into the reassignment decision.
Another spacewalk is set for April 8, with McClain and David Saint-Jacques tentatively on the schedule.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense