New Delhi: It's spacewalk time again for the International Space Station (ISS) astronauts!
Spacewalks are events that science and space enthusiasts look forward to with the initiation of every consecutive expedition launch. NASA is aware of that and the space event is always telecast live on NASA TV.
This time, the crew of Expedition 50 will venture outside the ISS to perform a complex upgrade to the orbital outpost’s power system.
The first phase of the spacewalk will be performed by NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson on January 6, 2017, while the follow-up phase will begin on January 13, 2017 conducted by Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA).
Working on the right side truss of the space station, the crew members will install adapter plates and hook up electrical connections for six new lithium-ion batteries that were delivered to the station in December, NASA said.
Prior to each spacewalk, the new batteries will be robotically extracted from a pallet to replace 12 older nickel-hydrogen batteries through a series of robotic operations. Nine of the older batteries will be stowed in a cargo resupply craft for later disposal, while three will remain on the station’s truss, disconnected from the power grid. The robotic operations will not air on NASA TV.
Coverage of the spacewalks will begin at 5:30 am on NASA Television and the space agency’s website.
This will be the 196th and 197th spacewalks in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Kimbrough will be designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit bearing red stripes for both spacewalks, the third and fourth of his career.
Whitson will be making the seventh spacewalk of her career and match the record of NASA’s Suni Williams, for most spacewalks by a woman. She will be designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes for the first spacewalk.
Pesquet, who will be making the first spacewalk of his career, will be extravehicular crew member 2 for the second spacewalk, also wearing a suit with no stripes, NASA reported.
The spacewalk team looks super excited in a photograph released by NASA, which is actually a selfie clicked by Pesquet along with Kimbrough and Whitson during robotics training inside the Cupola of the International Space Station.