As has been the process since 2017, the U.S. segment crew aboard the International Space Station has begun a marathon series of five spacewalks to change out another subset of batteries aboard the Station’s Integrated Truss Structure.
The five battery replacement spacewalks will take place within a 20 day period, beginning today and stretching until 25 October, and will focus on replacing the 12 nickel hydrogen batteries on the P6 truss of the Station with six brand new and more efficient Lithium-ion batteries.
Why replace the Station’s batteries?
The International Space Station’s first elements have been on orbit since 1998 with the launches of Zarya and Unity from Russia and the United States, respectively, forming the core construction of the Station’s assembly sequence.
Per the Station’s design, the outpost’s main solar arrays and batteries are located on four Integrated Truss Structure segments: P4, P6, S4 and S6.
The STS-97 mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour in November/December 2000 delivered the P6 truss. The P4 truss was then launched in September 2006, S4 in June 2007, and S6 in March 2009.
Given the Station’s longevity, the batteries need to be replaced as their age curtails operational effectiveness.
The P6 truss ...