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Space station astronauts to conduct spacewalks for power update

Updated: 12 29 , 2016 14:58
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 -- Astronauts on the International Space Station are to conduct two spacewalks in January for a "complex" upgrade to the orbital outpost's power system, U.S. space agency NASA said Wednesday.

The spacewalks will allow the crew members to install adapter plates and hook up electrical connections on the right side truss of the space station for six new lithium-ion batteries delivered to the orbital laboratory early this month, NASA said.

Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA will perform the first spacewalk on Jan. 6, while the work for the second spacewalk on Jan. 13 will be conducted by Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency.

According to NASA, prior to each spacewalk, the new batteries will be robotically extracted from a pallet to replace 12 older nickel-hydrogen batteries through a series of robotic operations.

Nine of the older batteries will be stowed in a cargo resupply craft for later disposal, while three will remain on the station's truss, disconnected from the power grid, it said.

This will be the third and fourth spacewalk in Kimbrough's career and the second for Pesquet. Whitson will be making her seventh spacewalk, which matches the record of NASA's Suni Williams, for most spacewalks by a woman.

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