Spacewalk set to replace ISS batteries

By Jerry Hume, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 06, 2017, 7:54 AM EST

Astronauts are preparing for a spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

  • Astronauts to conduct spacewalk at the International Space Station
  • They will replace old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries
  • The batteries help store power collected for the station's arrays

It’s the first in a multi-year process to replace the batteries on board the orbiting outpost.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson began their six and a half hour spacewalk at 7 a.m., Friday.

Their job is to help with the replacement of old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries. These batteries help store power collected from the space station’s arrays.

For the past few years, there have been power outages at the ISS and NASA hopes these upgrades will keep the station going for years to come.

“We’re always worried about battery capacity, this is something that with better capacity we don’t have to do as many power downs so operationally it’s going to be better off for us too,” said ISS Operations manager Kenneth Todd.

Todd said they’ll be replacing batteries onboard the ISS over the next couple of years.

In fact, there’s another spacewalk set for Friday, Jan. 13, to do the same kind of work.