Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken, both astronauts working for NASA, have just conducted a spacewalk during the early hours of Tuesday just outside the International Space Station. The purpose of this spacewalk, which was actually the 300th spacewalk ever performed by astronauts representing the United States, according to NASA reports, was done to upgrade the systems of the International Space Station.
The spacewalk started at the hours of 7:12 a.m. EDT and it ended five and a half hours later, at 12:41 p.m. ET. That sounds quite long for a walk just outside the station. Nevertheless, the results it yielded are significant. Behnken and Cassidy were able to install a protection unit that can store tools for the Canadian Space Agency’s Dextre robot, but also two separate Robotic External Leak Locator units during the walk. The thing with Dextre is that it can identify potential leaks of ammonia, which is a big thing on the International Space Station, as it is used for the cooling system of the station.
Astronauts have decided to remove a couple of fixtures located at the base of the solar arrays belonging to the station. These arrays were used just prior to launch. What’s more, Behnken and Cassidy have prepared the Tranquility module used for the NanoRacks commercial airlock, which is set to arrive at the station on a cargo flight organized by SpaceX. This future airlock is going to be used to assist with any deploying experiments that might happen.
Another spacewalk is scheduled to take place in the future months of this year. This is thought to complete the power system upgrades done to the International Space Station. That will happen through a simple, but highly important process. There is a lithium ion battery that was installed back in 2019, but it has now shorted out. By replacing it, the upgrade is complete.