Spacewalking astronauts tackled battery and cable work outside the International Space Station on Monday. It was the third spacewalk in just 2 weeks for the space station crew. NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques hustled through their part in battery swap-outs that began last month. “All right, you rock,” Mission Control radioed.
Next up: laying cable outside the 250-mile-high outpost to provide a backup power circuit for the station’s Canadian-made robot arm and expand wireless communications.
The ongoing battery work involves re-installing two old batteries. One of six new lithium-ion batteries did not work, so McClain had to remove an adapter plate she put in.
Last week, flight controllers used the space station’s robot arm to remove the failed battery along with an associated charging device. Working remotely, the controllers also installed a spare charging device and one of the old batteries made of nickel-hydrogen. The second outdated battery will go in robotically later this week.
NASA said it will send up another new battery, although it’s uncertain when. Until then, this combination of old and new batteries is expected to work fine, according to managers.
McClain has now logged two spacewalks and Saint-Jacques one. Their six-month mission began in December.
The next spacewalk will be next month by the two Russians on board. Two other Americans round out the six-person crew.