Astronauts replacing old batteries in 1st of 5 spacewalks

October 06, 2019 - 4:49 am

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Astronauts are kicking off the first of five spacewalks to replace old batteries at the International Space Station.

Christina Koch (Cook) and Andrew Morgan ventured out Sunday. They will remove a pair of old batteries and install a new one delivered just a week ago. These new lithium-ion batteries are so powerful that only one is needed for every two old ones, which are original to the orbiting lab.

The batteries — half the size of a refrigerator — are part of the station's solar power network. Astronauts have been upgrading them since 2017. They're halfway done.

NASA plans to wrap up the five battery spacewalks this month. Then five more spacewalks will be conducted by year's end to fix a science instrument. NASA is calling it a "spacewalk bonanza."