International Space Station Set To Fly Over Baltimore Saturday Night

U.S. NASA astronauts Anne Mc Clain and Nick Hague take a spacewalk to replace aging batteries on the International Space Station

Space station astronauts Anne McClain and Nick Hague floated outside the International Space Station for a planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk Friday to install a second set of more powerful lithium-ion batteries in the lab's solar power system.

Astronauts began the first of three spacewalks to bring upgrades to the International Space Station Friday morning.

McClain is designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes, and with the helmet camera labeled #20.

While the station uses solar panels, batteries help store that energy and provide power when the station is in the dark.

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Nick Hague and Anne McClain wrapped up their spacewalk at 2:40 p.m. NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan became the first US female spacewalker later that same year.

The International Space Station will darken behind the Earth's shadow just before reaching the horizon. The original nickel-hydrogen batteries have become less capable of holding a charge over time. These new ISS batteries are preferred as they're more light-weight and more efficient than their nickel-hydrogen predecessors.

Hague and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency are scheduled to conduct a third spacewalk April 8 to lay out jumper cables between the Unity module and the S0 truss, at the midpoint of the station's backbone. In all, NASA plans to swap out 12 of the old batteries for six new ones. For that one, she will be joined by fellow astronaut Christina Koch; they will perform similar work on the other side of the station. Some prep work was done in advance using the station's robotic arm, so on the actual walk they will put in adapter plates and do some electrical work for three of the new batteries.

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