Imagine the infinite vastness of space around you. Then imagine the thought of being there, yet confined within limited space, in a constant lack of gravity, as you eat canned food and then strap yourself to sleep. All those hardships for a little peek from a tiny window, from where you can see the Earth in all its glory. And then someone tells you that a live feed of that view can also be enjoyed on YouTube.
Being a resident on the International Space Station can be boring. But then there are times when they get to go out on a little picnic, dressed in their bloated suits. Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA will do just that, as they will perform a spacewalk on Jan. 6, for a ‘complex’ upgrade to the orbital outpost’s power system. The spacewalk will allow the crew members to install adapter plates and hook up electrical connections on the right side truss of the space station for six new lithium-ion batteries delivered to the orbital laboratory earlier this month.
Since the upgrade will happen in two stages, Kimbrough will step out again on Jan. 13, while Peggy will stay indoors and will be replaced by Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency. Prior to each spacewalk, new batteries will be extracted from a pallet to replace 12 older nickel-hydrogen batteries through a series of robotic operations. While nine of the older batteries will be stowed in a cargo resupply craft for later disposal, three will remain on the station’s truss, disconnected from the power grid.