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Trio Of Spacewalks Upgrades International Space Station’s Power System

Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques wrapped up the third spacewalk of the year after continuing station power system upgrades. Photo: NASA

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The last of three spacewalks to upgrade the International Space Station’s power system is complete. The final mission Monday wasn’t easy — the two spacewalkers had communication trouble for the more than six-hour spacewalk.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques were tasked with upgrading the station’s aging batteries and rewiring a robotic arm.

Along with issues with the communication system, Saint-Jacques ran into a stuck pin that prevented prep work for a future upgrade.

McClain, meanwhile, reported having a thin layer of moisture inside her helmet. The change to her visor was noticeable in the last 15 minutes of the spacewalk, she noted.

NASA is wary about moisture inside helmets ever since an Italian astronaut almost drowned during a spacewalk nearly six years ago because of a water leak in his suit. McClain insisted she wasn’t wet, and that the moisture was minimal. A crewmate later noted perspiration.

McClain also discovered one of the replacement batteries didn’t work. NASA says it will send a replacement to the station, although it is unclear when. Until then, this combination of old and new batteries is expected to work fine, according to managers.

The next spacewalk will happen next month by the station’s two Russian cosmonauts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »