Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are all set to conduct two spacewalks. Why? Well, they are required to perform a complex upgrade to the orbital outpost's power system.
One of these systems aims to match India-American Sunita William's record for most spacewalks performed by a woman. On January 6, Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA will perform the first spacewalk.
Ms Whitson will be performing her career's seventh spacewalk and will aim to match the record of NASA astronaut Williams.
The crew working on the right side truss of the ISS, will install adapter plates. They will also install electrical connections for six new lithium-ion batteries delivered to the station in December.
Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency will perform the second spacewalk on January 13 and the work will continue till then.
Before each spacewalk, the crew will robotically extract the new batteries from a pallet to replace 12 older nickel-hydrogen batteries through a series of robotic operations.
For later disposal, nine of the older batteries will be showed in a cargo resupply craft. Three will remain on ISS's truss, disconnected from the power grid.
This will be the 196th and 197th spacewalks in support of space station assembly and maintenance.
(With inputs from PTI)