After expedition 61 flight engineers completed the first round of nickel-hydrogen batteries replacement in NASA space station, NASA has announced that the next spacewalk continuing the work will be held on Wednesday, October 16. This comes after Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan concluded their spacewalk on October 11. They replaced the old nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer and more powerful lithium-ion batteries. The next spacewalk will be done by the engineers, Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir.
This week on @Space_Station, two astronauts completed the first two spacewalks in a series to upgrade the station's batteries from nickel-hydrogen to lithium-ion. The next spacewalk continuing the work will be Wed., Oct. 16. Watch: https://t.co/XBIyJ90P1z Questions? Use #AskNASA! pic.twitter.com/44cAMBlGtn— NASA (@NASA) October 12, 2019
The lithium-ion batteries that were put in the place of the old nickel-hydrogen batteries are more powerful and only one is needed for every two old ones. Astronauts have been upgrading these 400-pounds (180-kilogram) batteries, since 2017. They are half the size of a refrigerator and needed to facilitate all the power operations in the station. The new lithium-ion batteries are also lighter in mass and a smaller volume than the nickel-hydrogen batteries. While the old batteries are up to 10 years old the new ones are expected to last until the end of the space station's life.
The last spacewalk that Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan took was seven hours and one-minute long. A long walk is necessary as the batteries that need to be changed are located in the extreme end of the station’s port truss. Given the complex location of the batteries, the 58-foot (17-meter) long robot arm in the space station is also unable to reach in this place. Thus, many spacewalks are being carried out by the engineers to replace the 12 old nickel-hydrogen batteries with six new lithium-ion batteries.