After a five-hour spacewalk, two NASA astronauts replaced the International Space Station’s worn-out batteries with lithium-ion samples, ending an operation that began four years ago.
NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover, who accompanied the other two astronauts to the International Space Station about two months ago with the Crow Dragon Space X capsule, spent 5 hours and 20 minutes in the space of the station’s worn-out batteries. And a number of cameras installed around it Upgraded.
Replacing the International Space Station batteries has been a routine mission of astronauts for many years, but it is very complicated and requires wearing astronaut uniforms and stepping into a dangerous vacuum environment.
One of the challenges astronauts face when replacing batteries is the very high speed of the station’s orbit around the Earth. The structure orbits the earth at a speed of 27,600 kilometers per hour and experiences sunrise and sunset every 45 minutes.
When the station is in direct sunlight, the solar panels attached to the truss structure store energy in batteries. When the station crosses the point between sunrise and sunset, or the so-called “terminator line” and enters the dark side of the earth, the batteries supply power to the entire station, from life support systems to vacuum cleaners.
The station’s main power system has long used old nickel-hydrogen batteries for energy storage. In 2009, the ISS program began research into the evaluation and risk of using lithium-ion batteries. This program was approved in 2011 and the production of new batteries started in late 2014.
NASA and its crew began replacing old batteries with new ones in December 2016. The new batteries were delivered to the station after more than four launches by the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle. So far, 13 different astronauts have made 14 spacewalks to replace batteries. NASA says the station’s main power system is now powered entirely by lithium-ion technology.