ISS Astronauts Gear Up for 10 Spacewalks in 3 Months


In what may be called the biggest ever marathon of spacewalks since the assembly of the International Space Station (ISS) was completed in 2011, astronauts aboard the space station plan to conduct 10 of them during the next three months.

The station crew will replace some of the orbiting laboratory’s solar array batteries during the first half of the spacewalks and then refurbish a renowned scientific instrument that explores the fundamental nature of the universe during the final five excursions, NASA said on Tuesday.

The first of a set of five spacewalks dedicated to replacing batteries on the far end of the station’s port truss is scheduled to begin on October 6.

The existing nickel-hydrogen batteries will be upgraded with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries transported to the station aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, which arrived on September 28.

These spacewalks continue the overall upgrade of the station’s power system that began with similar battery replacement during spacewalks in January 2017, the US space agency said.

The second half of this sequence of spacewalks will focus on repairs to the space station’s Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

While the dates for those spacewalks have not yet been revealed, they are expected to begin in November.

Experts will discuss the details of the spacewalks in a briefing at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on October 4.

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