NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir started their first spacewalk in 2020 early Wednesday morning and headed for the International Space Station's Port 6 truss to spend several hours repairing the Batteries to work.
Meir was joined by fellow astronaut Christina Koch on the walk, which was necessary to replace batteries on solar panels on the outside of the station. "Koch is called extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wears the suit without stripes and wears the helmet camera with the number 18".
Meir tried to fix the helmet, but Mission Control in Houston, Texas, advised the women to remove the camera and light assembly.
The women had just started replacing batteries when Koch's camera and light unit came off and they could no longer get it on her helmet. Koch and Meir finished all of the scheduled battery fix work around 12:30 p.m., and then completed a single get-ahead task before cleaning up their work stations and heading back inside ISS.
"Be careful", Mission Control insisted on Koch. "You're missing that additional protection". The batteries are part of the station's solar power network, keeping everything running when the outpost is on the night side of Earth. They 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. The last series of new batteries should be launched this spring.
While Koch and Meir were preparing for the spacewalk on Tuesday, Morgan and Parmitano were working on several scientific experiments.
During the second half of the spacewalk, the pair of astronauts repeated their initial steps, removing a second aging battery and installing a new one.
Koch went twice with a male colleague last October to install three new batteries.
Engineers now believe that the charger became too cold in the extreme temperatures of the room. The solution: expose the chargers as much as possible to the sun during battery work.
Koch is just three weeks away from ending an 11-month space mission, the longest ever by a woman. She's been living 250 miles above Earth since last March. Meir arrived on the space station for her first six-month mission at the beginning of October.