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Astronauts Complete Second Spacewalk To Upgrade Station’s Batteries

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Christina Koch work to replace batteries on the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

NASA astronauts have wrapped up the second spacewalk in just a week to replace aging batteries on the International Space Station.

Astronaut Christina Koch along with Nick Hague spent more than six hours outside the station replacing its nickel-hydrogen batteries with more efficient lithium-ion replacements. These batteries store power collected by the solar wings and keep the station running when it’s on the night side of Earth.

Koch was scheduled to perform the task with NASA’s Anne McClain, but there weren’t enough medium-sized suits readily available. It would have been the first all-female spacewalk. NASA says that milestone is “inevitable,” but the agency doesn’t have anything scheduled just yet.

It was Koch’s first spacewalk, which makes her the 14th female spacewalker.

A third spacewalk is planned for April 8 to continue the work with NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques. The duo will install upgrades to the Canadian-built robotic arm and install cables to provide more expansive wireless communication coverage outside the station.

Koch and Hague arrived at the station only two weeks ago on a Russian space capsule. Soon, NASA astronauts will launch from Florida thanks to commercial partners SpaceX and Boeing. The first human launch of those capsules, starting with SpaceX, could happen later this year.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »