Astronauts on the International Space Station will conduct spacewalks Sept. 23 and 29 to continue upgrades to the orbiting laboratory’s power system. Experts from NASA will preview this work in a briefing at 2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 18, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Live coverage of the briefing and spacewalks will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Participants will include:
- Kenneth Todd, International Space Station manager for Operations and Integration
- Mary Lawrence, spacewalk flight director
- Jaclyn Kagey, lead spacewalk officer
- Troy McCracken, spacewalk robotics officer
The equipment to be installed will be delivered on a Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle cargo craft. The installation work will begin on Earth, when ground controllers use the station’s robotic arm to replace old nickel-hydrogen batteries on the port truss of the complex with six new lithium-ion batteries.
Station Commander Drew Feustel of NASA and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) will venture outside the Quest airlock Sunday, Sept. 23 to install the adapter plates for the new batteries, completing the upgrades to two station power channels.
With this spacewalk, the 10th of his career, Feustel will tie former astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria for most spacewalks by a U.S. astronaut, and is expected to surpass him for overall spacewalking time to become the all-time leading U.S. spacewalker and second overall in spaceflight history. It will be Gerst’s second spacewalk.
Six days later, on Saturday, Sept. 29, NASA Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold will join Gerst to complete the power system refurbishment on the port truss. It will be Arnold’s sixth spacewalk.
Coverage of the spacewalks will begin on NASA TV and the agency’s website at 6:30 a.m., with both spacewalks scheduled to begin around 8 a.m. and last about six-and-a-half hours. These spacewalks will be the 213th and 214th in support of station assembly, maintenance and upgrades; and the eighth and ninth outside the station this year.
Learn more about International Space Station research, operations, and its crew at https://www.nasa.gov/station