WASHINGTON, March 22 (Xinhua) — Two flight engineers of the United States space agency NASA completed the first spacewalk of this year out of the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday to upgrade the space lab’s power system.
Nick Hague and Anne McClain wrapped up their spacewalk at 2:40 p.m. American Eastern Time, lasting about six hours and 39 minutes, according to NASA.
The two astronauts replaced nickel-hydrogen batteries with three newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays.
They installed adapter plates and then hooked up electrical connections on the starboard truss, showed NASA’s live broadcast online.
The batteries were transported to the station in September 2018 aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle.
The batteries store power generated by the station’s solar arrays to provide power to the station when the station is not in the sunlight, as it orbits the Earth during orbital night, according to NASA.
They also worked to remove debris from outside of the station.
McClain and another female flight engineer Christina Koch are scheduled to venture outside next Friday to work on a second set of battery replacements on a different power channel. It will be the first only-women spacewalk in history.
Additional batteries will be replaced as part of this power upgrade over the next couple of years as new batteries are delivered to station, according to NASA.