Two US astronauts on spacewalk to upgrade ISS

2017-01-08 11:29
Astronaut Peggy Whitson takes a spacewalk outside the International Space Station to hook up fancy new batteries. (NASA via AP)

Astronaut Peggy Whitson takes a spacewalk outside the International Space Station to hook up fancy new batteries. (NASA via AP)

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Washington - Two American astronauts have ventured outside the International Space Station to work on upgrading the orbiting outpost's electrical system.

Americans Shane Kimbrough, the 49-year-old commander of the six-person crew aboard the ISS and flight engineer Peggy Whitson, 56, emerged from an airlock for a spacewalk to install adapter plates.  They also made electrical connections for three of six new lithium-ion batteries installed on the station's truss, according to the US space agency NASA.

Japan's uninhabited H-II Transfer Vehicle, or HTV, delivered the batteries last month. The Canadian-built Dextre robotic arm began the installation to pave the way for the astronauts' work.

Kimbrough and Whitson were assisted by European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, 38 and Oleg Novitskiy of Russia from inside the station. The entire orbital ballet was conducted by the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas.

The new batteries are expected to last as long as the ISS is expected to remain in use - until at least 2024.

It was the 196th overall spacewalk for space station assembly and maintenance.

Read more on:    nasa  |  iss  |  us

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