NASA astronauts go outside International Space Station for power upgrades

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(WJW) — NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken went outside the International Space Station (ISS) Friday for the first of two spacewalks to begin replacing the batteries for one of the power channels on ISS.

Their second walk is set for July 1.

Cassidy, the commander of Expedition 63, and Behnken, who joined the crew May 31 after arriving aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon with NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight, will depart the Quest airlock for both spacewalks.

The spacewalking astronauts will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for one of two power channels on the far starboard truss (S6 Truss) of the station with new lithium-ion batteries that arrived to the station on a Japanese cargo ship last month. The battery replacement work is the culmination of power upgrade spacewalks that began in January 2017, according to NASA.

Cassidy will be extravehicular crew member 1 for both spacewalks, wearing the spacesuit with red stripes, while Behnken will be extravehicular crew member 2, wearing the spacesuit with no stripes. It will be the seventh and eighth spacewalks for each astronaut. The spacewalks will be the 228th and 229th in support of space station assembly, maintenance and upgrades.

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