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Astronauts Preparing for Spacewalks

5 Oct 2019, 12:18 UTC
Astronauts Preparing for Spacewalks
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Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut David Saint-Jacques seen inside the Quest airlock replacing the Hard Upper Torso (HUT) on an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) aboard the International Space Station. (Credit NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronauts have been busy getting their spacesuits ready to go in preparation for a suite of 10 spacewalks outside the International Space Station. The first of five spacewalks to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries on the space station’s truss with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries is set to begin Sunday, Oct. 6, with four more following before the end of the month.

Another five spacewalks to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer—a cosmic ray catcher searching for evidence of “dark matter” in the universe and mounted on the exterior of the station—will follow in coming weeks.

The spacesuit worn during these excursions is the Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or EMU. This suit is essentially a personal spaceship that keeps astronauts safe and ensures they are able to perform complex, difficult work in the vacuum of space and the microgravity environment of low-Earth orbit. The spacesuit provides life support including breathing air and thermal controls, critical in space where temperatures range between plus or minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit, battery ...

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