This morning, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch reenact their history-packed space walk for women. The couple will be heading outside the International Space Station today to upgrade further. It is only the second time in history that two women – without men – have dressed and taken a space walk together. And if everything goes according to plan, the couple could do everything again next week.
The purpose of today's spacewalk is not too remarkable, otherwise. Koch and Meir have the task of continuing the multi-year process of changing the batteries on the outside of the ISS. For decades, the space station had to rely on nickel-hydrogen batteries to store the energy generated by the vehicle's solar modules. But since 201
7, NASA has regularly replaced these old batteries with newer lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries are lighter, hold more charge and are said to last much longer than the originals.
With today's spacewalk and another one scheduled for Monday, January 20, Koch and Meir will upgrade this battery until the last remaining nickel-hydrogen batteries on the outside of the station are replaced. When the process is complete, all eight ISS power channels will be fully upgraded, with three lithium-ion batteries connected to each channel.