WATCH: Huntsville-made batteries installed on spacewalks

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NASA astronaut Jessica Meir takes an out-of-this-world “space-selfie” with her spacesuit helmet visor down reflecting her camera and International Space Station hardware. She and fellow NASA astronaut Christina Koch (out of frame) ventured into the vacuum of space for seven hours and 17 minutes to swap a failed battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU) with a spare during the first all-woman spacewalk.
Credits: NASA

Watch LIVE as astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will leave the International Space Station (ISS) to finish replacing nickel-hydrogen batteries with lithium-ion batteries that were made by Boeing employees in Huntsville.

The Boeing-made batteries will store energy generated by the space station’s solar array.

When the ISS was originally launched into orbit in 1998, it was equipped with 48 nickel-hydrogen batteries, split between its four solar wings. When the station dipped into shadow, these batteries were responsible for keeping things going. In 2017, NASA began swapping out these old batteries with 24 smaller lithium-ion power packs, which provide greater storage and power efficiency.

Live coverage of all three spacewalks this month will begin at 5:30 a.m. EST on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

These will be the second and third spacewalks for Meir, who will be extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) for both spacewalks.

Koch, who will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2), will perform the fifth and sixth spacewalks of her career.

Over the past 20 years, the Boeing-built ISS has hosted 239 people and more than 2,700 science experiments.

NASA selected Boeing as prime contractor for the ISS on Aug. 17, 1993, and the original cost-plus-award-fee contract began on Jan. 13, 1995.
In this role, Boeing has been responsible for ISS design, development, integration, testing and delivering – and now sustains the U.S.-built elements under periodic extensions of the original contract.

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