Astronauts ascent hire energy complement in 6-hour spacewalk

By Irene Klotz

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – Two astronauts floated outward a International Space Station on Friday for a six-hour spacewalk to reinstate aging batteries for a laboratory’s solar energy system, an ascent indispensable to keep a outpost using into a subsequent decade, NASA said.

    U.S. wanderer Shane Kimbrough left a station’s airlock during about 6:30 a.m. EST (1130 GMT) to start his second spacewalk this month. He was assimilated mins after by French organisation partner Thomas Pesquet, a rookie wanderer creation his initial spacewalk.

Kimbrough and Pesquet breezed by work on a batteries and finished several upkeep chores before streamer behind inside a hire only before 12:30 p.m. EST (1730 GMT), a half-hour progressing than creatively planned.

“Thanks for all a help,” Kimbrough radioed to NASA’s Mission Control in Houston.

    The group continued work started during a spacewalk progressing this month to offshoot adult an array of 428-pound (194 kg) lithium-ion battery packs, about a distance of a tiny refrigerator, to a station’s solar energy system. They reinstate nickel-hydrogen batteries that are losing a ability to reason a charge.

    The initial 6 of a new 24 lithium-ion batteries arrived during a hire aboard a Japanese HTV load boat in December. The remaining 18 new lithium-ion battery packs will be flown to a hire on destiny Japanese resupply missions.

Nine of a aged batteries will be installed aboard a load boat that will skip a hire after this month and bake adult in a atmosphere. Three gone batteries will be stored outward a station.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects it will take about 3 years to finish a space station’s energy complement upgrade, that will keep it operational until during slightest 2024.

    Before this month’s spacewalks, belligerent control teams used a station’s robotic arm to pierce a new batteries into position and mislay a aged ones. This robotics work cut a series of spacewalks indispensable for a plan from 6 to two, NASA said.

The solar-powered hire draws energy from a batteries when it flies in darkness, encircling about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

    The space station, that is about a distance of a five-bedroom house, is a $100 billion investigate laboratory, owned and operated by 16 nations.

(Editing by Letitia Stein and Bill Trott)

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