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Space station’s batteries to be replaced during two NASA spacewalks in March

One of them will be the first-ever all-female spacewalk

NEW YORK, March 20. /TASS/. NASA astronauts will conduct two spacewalks this month to replace the International Space Station (ISS) nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer and more powerful lithium-ion batteries, NASA officials said at a briefing on Tuesday.

Both spacewalks will last 6.5 hours.

Spacewalk flight director Mary Lawrence said that during the first spacewalk, scheduled for March 22, NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Anne McClain will leave the station’s Quest airlock at 8:05 ET (15:05 Moscow time) to install lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays.

The three new batteries were transported to the station in September aboard Japan’s HTV transfer vehicle and weigh 150 kilograms, so the astronauts will have to manipulate them with extreme caution.

The second set of battery replacements on a different power channel in the same area of the station will be installed during the second spacewalk on March 29. It will be performed by McClain and flight engineer Christina Koch and will be the first-ever all-female spacewalk.

Kenneth Todd, the ISS manager for Operations and Integration, said the dismantled batteries will be loaded to a cargo spacecraft, which will later be deorbited and burn in the atmosphere.

Another spacewalk is scheduled for April 8 and will be conducted by NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques.