Astronauts perform second of two spacewalks to upgrade ISS

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Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will go on the second of two spacewalks Friday to perform a complex upgrade to the International Space Station’s power system.

Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA performed the first spacewalk to install adapter plates and hook up electrical connections for three of the six new lithium-ion batteries delivered to the complex on the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle cargo ship (HTV-6) in December.

There are currently six people on the International Space Station — Kimbrough, Whitson, and Pesquet are joined by Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy, Andrei Borisenko, and Sergei Ryzhikov.

Whitson, 56,  is the only female onboard the ISS and with her launch on November 17, became the oldest woman to fly into space. When her mission ends, she will have spent more time in space than any other U.S. astronaut.

Friday’s spacewalk is the 197th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Kimbrough will be designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit bearing red stripes, the fourth of his career. Pesquet will be designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes.