This Friday, two International Space Station crew members will conduct the second spacewalk in a week to complete upgrades to the station’s power systems.
The six-member Expedition 50 crew had a day off after a pair of NASA astronauts completed the first spacewalk of 2017 on Friday of last week. That spacewalk is the first of two planned in January to upgrade the International Space Station’s power systems. Both spacewalks have been backed-up with external robotics work that installed the new lithium-ion batteries and removed the old nickel-hydrogen batteries.
The next spacewalk will take place this Friday to complete the upgrades which include connecting new batteries, installing adapter plates and stowing older batteries. Commander Shane Kimbrough will suit up for the second time in a week joining first-time spacewalker astronaut Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency.
Expedition 50 crew members Peggy Whitson from NASA and Oleg Novitskiy from Roscosmos will assist the spacewalkers. They will help them in and out of their U.S. spacesuits and guide them in and out of the crew airlock.
The spacewalking duo are partnering up today with NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson to review Friday morning’s spacewalk. Whitson, who completed her seventh spacewalk last Friday, and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy will be assisting the spacewalkers in and out of their spacesuits and the Quest airlock.
Late yesterday and last night robotic ground controllers used the Dextre Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator to move the final lithium-ion battery to the 1A power channel Integrated Electronics Assembly, moved another nickel-hydrogen battery to one of Dextre’s arms for temporary stowage and tightened down bolts on two of the previously moved Li-ion batteries.
So, we now have five nickel-hydrogen batteries either on the HTV External Pallet or temporarily stowed on Dextre and one more Ni-H battery to move from the 1A IEA to another stowage position on Dextre later today to complete the pre-EVA robotics. All six new lithium-ion batteries are now installed on the S4 truss IEA. The 3A power channel is fully operational. The 1A power channel will be activated on Friday during the EVA after adapter plates are moved into place on the 1A IEA.
Post-EVA robotics on Saturday and Sunday will complete the work to move the last four old Ni-H batteries from Dextre to the External Pallet for disposal (there will be nine on the EP in all). They will burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere when the HTV is deorbited.
Whitson and Pesquet started their day scanning their arteries with and ultrasound and collecting body fluid samples for the Cardio Ox study. That experiment is researching the increased risk of atherosclerosis, the plaque build-up in the artery wall that results in narrowing of the blood vessel, in astronauts living in space.
The following is an image of the completed spacewalk from last Friday with comment:
Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson concluded their spacewalk at 1:55 p.m. EST. During the six-hour and 32-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully installed three new adapter plates and hooked up electrical connections for three of the six new lithium-ion batteries on the International Space Station. They also accomplished several get-ahead tasks, including a photo survey of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
Space station crew members have conducted 196 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,224 hours and 6 minutes working outside the station.
In the Russian segment of the space station, cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov set up gear for a Matryoshka radiation detection experiment. Veteran cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko studied how mission events affect the station structure and explored new Earth photography techniques.
It will be a busy few weeks after the conclusion of Friday’s upcoming spacewalk. Japan’s “Kounotori” HTV-6 resupply ship will depart at the end of January completing its cargo delivery mission that included the new batteries the spacewalkers have been hooking up. A Russian Progress 64 (64P) cargo craft will undock shortly after the HTV-6 leaves.
Written By: Mark Garcia NASA
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