When NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover went on a spacewalk on February 1st, they wrapped up a multi-year effort to interchange the getting old nickel hydrogen batteries on the ISS with new lithium-ion fashions. The Worldwide Area Station Program authorised the event of lithium-ion batteries to interchange the station’s getting old energy storage system again in 2011. Battery manufacturing began in 2014, and the primary lithium—ion replacements flew to the station aboard JAXA’s Kounotori 6 resupply flight in December 2016. Now, 4 years after that flight and 14 spacewalks with 13 completely different astronauts later, the improve is lastly full.
Floor controllers used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to place a number of the batteries for set up. Nonetheless, some required extra spacewalks for the areas the arm couldn’t attain. The batteries aren’t fairly just like the lithium-ion we’re used to, with their space-grade lithium-ion cells and radiant barrier defend. Since lithium-ion know-how has higher vitality density than nickel-hydrogen, solely 24 new batteries had been wanted to interchange the 48 previous ones.
The ISS makes use of batteries to retailer vitality harnessed from the solar with its photo voltaic panels, and it faucets into these reserves each time it doesn’t have entry to daylight. And that occurs typically, because the station passes between daylight and darkness each 45 minutes. That saved energy is critical to maintain every thing engaged on the ISS, together with the station’s life assist techniques. Except for offering the station with a lot—wanted energy, the batteries might additionally give us the perception wanted to enhance lithium-ion security.
Now that this specific improve is full, the ISS program will shift its focus to changing the station’s photo voltaic arrays. Six new arrays will probably be flying aboard SpaceX flights over the following few years to interchange the present ones close to the tip of their 15-year lifespan.
The battery upgrades on the area station are full immediately after eight years of improvement and 14 spacewalks. https://t.co/OMjNN4lUUG
— Worldwide Area Station (@Space_Station) February 2, 2021