Astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover Jr. are conducting a spacewalk Monday to finish battery upgrades and install high-definition cameras outside of the International Space Station.
This is the second spacewalk for the duo in just a matter of days. It began at 7:56 a.m. ET, with live coverage streaming on NASA’s website. The spacewalk is expected to last for six and a half hours.
It’s the second spacewalk experience for Glover, who is a few months into his first spaceflight on the station.
“What a beautiful view,” Glover said after he began his spacewalk last Wednesday.
This will be the fourth spacewalk for Hopkins, who previously completed two spacewalks during his first six-month stay on the space station from September 2013 to March 2014.
This is the 234th spacewalk in support of the space station’s assembly, maintenance and upgrades.
Hopkins will wear the spacesuit bearing red stripes as crew member 1 and Glover will be in the spacesuit with no stripes as crew member 2.
The astronauts will install the final lithium-ion battery adapter plate on Monday. They will connect it to the battery, which was installed robotically ahead of the spacewalk. This installation wraps up work to complete the replacement of aging nickel-hydrogen batteries outside the station that began in January 2017.
Glover and Hopkins will then move to the opposite side of the station to focus on other upgrades. Their work includes replacing an external standard camera with a new high-definition camera on the Destiny laboratory, and replacing camera and light assembly components needed for the Japanese robotic arm’s camera system, located outside of the Kibo module. They will also route some ethernet cables.
Hopkins, Glover, NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi flew to the station in November aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft in mid-November. They joined NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, who were already on the station after launching in October.
Rubins has the task of operating the robotic arm from inside the space station to assist the astronauts as they work outside.
There are more spacewalks planned for the crew near the end of February and beginning of March.
Glover and Rubins will pair up for the third spacewalk to prepare the station’s power system for installing new solar arrays, which will increase the station’s power supply.
Rubins and Noguchi will conduct the fourth spacewalk to continue upgrades for the space station.
During these long spacewalks, the astronauts go through alternating cycles of day and night every 45 minutes, operating against the hot, bright light of the sun as well as the cold darkness of space. This happens because the space station is orbiting the Earth at 17,500 miles per hour.
While the astronauts don’t feel the direct impacts of extreme cold and heat, there is the potential for a chill, so there are heaters installed in the astronauts’ gloves to keep their hands warm, said Vincent LaCourt, spacewalk flight director at NASA for the February 1 spacewalk.