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NASA, ESA Astronauts to Update ISS Power System Through Spacewalks

Expedition 50 astronauts will update the International Space Station’s power system during two spacewalks on Jan. 6 and 13.

NASA said Wednesday Expedition 50 commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA will conduct the first spacewalk then Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of European Space Agency will perform the second spacewalk.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has delivered a payload of six lithium-ion batteries to ISS to help maintain the orbital outpost’s power supply.

A series of robotic operations will extract the new batteries from a pallet to replace 12 nickel-hydrogen batteries before each spacewalk, NASA noted.

Nine old batteries will be placed in a cargo resupply craft for disposal and three will be disconnected from the power grid, then remain on ISS’ truss.

The power supply operations will represent the 196th and 197th spacewalks for space station assembly and maintenance.

Kimbrough will conduct his third and fourth spacewalks for the effort while Whitson will make the seventh spacewalk of her career and Pesquet will go on his first spacewalk.

NASA TV will air a press briefing on spacewalk activities on Jan. 4.

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