Watch NASA’s animation previewing Friday’s ISS spacewalk

NASA’s first spacewalk since January will take place at the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, and the space agency has posted a short animation (below) revealing what astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken will be doing during their time outside.

The pair have spent the last few days going through the details of the spacewalk, which could last for up to seven hours. Cassidy and Behnken have also practiced getting in and out of their spacesuits, assisted by NASA astronaut Doug Hurley.

Friday’s outing is the first of two planned spacewalks for Expedition 63, with the second one scheduled for Wednesday, July 1.

The aim of the walks is to swap old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the space station’s Starboard-6 truss structure. The batteries store power collected from the station’s main solar arrays and distribute it throughout the orbiting laboratory.

The new batteries are currently attached to the outside of the space station aboard Japan’s HTV-9 cargo spacecraft, which docked in May. Work on changing the batteries actually started in 2017, with the two upcoming spacewalks expected to complete the task.

Behnken and Hurley arrived at the ISS at the start of this month in the first-ever SpaceX astronaut launch that also included the first crewed use of the Crew Dragon spacecraft. Cassidy arrived aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in April.

Cassidy and Behnken are both spacewalk veterans, having already completed six each on missions dating back to 2008.

Behnken revealed recently that, for him, the highlight of any spacewalk is the stunning view you get of Earth. He said that once you’ve finished the task in hand, it’s always important to “take some mental photographs, some mental images to remember what it was like to be outside so you can share that experience.”

Fancy dipping into live coverage of Friday’s spacewalk? Find out more about how you can watch it online.

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