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Of the six astronauts on ISS, two will take the first of two spacewalks this Friday. Peggy Whitson is pictured during her last spacewalk which took place nine years ago in January 2008.

On Friday, two astronauts will take the first of two spacewalks outside the International Space Station. The first space walk will be to secure maintenance upgrades.

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Of the six astronauts on ISS, two will take the first of two spacewalks this Friday. Peggy Whitson is pictured during her last spacewalk which took place nine years ago in January 2008.

The crew is getting ready for a pair of spacewalks scheduled for this Friday and next Friday to upgrade the International Space Station’s power system. The two spacewalks will take place on the station’s right-side, or starboard, truss structure to replace and install new power equipment.

Commander Shane Kimbrough and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson will step outside for the first power maintenance spacewalk Friday at 7 a.m. EST. Kimbrough will be joined by European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet the following Friday for the second spacewalk. The three astronauts are reviewing spacewalk procedures, collecting tools and configuring cameras in the U.S. Quest airlock today.

Robotics controllers remotely removed nickel-hydrogen batteries and installed new lithium-ion batteries on the starboard-4 truss over the holidays and into the New Year. The robotics work sets up the power maintenance work the space-walkers will perform including replacing adapter plates and relocating the old batteries.

The three astronauts and their fellow cosmonauts still had time for a variety of science work and standard orbital maintenance. Kimbrough and Whitson explored how microgravity affects body shape and impacts suit sizing. Pesquet joined Andrey Borisenko and set up tiny internal satellites known as SPHERES for an upcoming student competition. Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Oleg Novitskiy checked Russian life support systems.

Earlier, the crew practiced to prepare for the upcoming space walks:

Astronauts practice with the robotic arm and are preparing for a Friday space walk for a power upgrade. This picture is of Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle is seen with the Earth behind it.

In a remarkable demonstration of robotic prowess, ground controllers used the Canadian-built “Dextre” Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator over the weekend to install three new lithium-ion batteries in the International Space Station’s 3A power channel Integrated Electronics Assembly (IEA) pallet on the starboard 4 truss. Dextre also removed four old nickel-hydrogen batteries from the IEA, three of which were stowed on the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle’s external pallet to wrap up the first act of a complex procedure to upgrade the station’s power system. A fourth old battery was temporarily stowed on a platform on Dextre.

This clears the way for the first of two spacewalks Friday in which Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA will install three adapter plates in slots on the IEA to which three of the old nickel-hydrogen batteries will be mounted to remain on the ISS but will be dormant. In all, nine nickel-hydrogen batteries will be stowed on the external pallet for disposal when the HTV is deorbited to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere late this month.

Three additional new lithium-ion batteries flown to the ISS aboard the HTV will be robotically installed in the starboard truss’ 1A power channel Integrated Electronics Assembly between Friday’s spacewalk and a second spacewalk scheduled Jan. 13 for Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency. Five additional nickel-hydrogen batteries will be removed robotically from the IEA prior to the second spacewalk.

Written By: Mark Garcia NASA

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