According to NASA, twelve batteries have been replaced on one of the four solar arrays of the International Space Station.
Six of the 375-pound batteries were replaced last July, with four more going in on May 19th. This past Friday, astronauts Mike Good and Garrett Reisman installed the last of the twelve batteries, taking a total of 2 hours and 40 minutes to make the switch.
The previous 12 batteries, which were worth $3.5 million, had a six-year life expectancy when they were initially installed. NASA was pleasantly surprised however, as the batteries ended up lasting a respectable 10 years. The newly installed batteries are expected to do the same.
So what is it that these multi-million dollar battery systems do exactly?
According to NASA, “When the solar arrays of the International Space Station are in the sun, nickel hydrogen batteries such as the one being demonstrated collect solar energy that is later used to power the Station when it is no longer within the Sun’s “line-of-sight.”
Good and Reisman also installed an ammonia cooling line during Friday’s third and final spacewalk of their mission aboard the shuttle Atlantis. Before the walk, they entered the U.S. Quest airlock aboard the space station for depressurization.
“It’s like standing on your bathroom scale waiting for the needle to go down,” one of astronauts said during an audio feed to NASA.
Category: Battery News