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Astronauts take spacewalk to swap space station's batteries

1 month 1 day 18 hours ago Friday, March 22 2019 Mar 22, 2019 March 22, 2019 6:21 AM March 22, 2019 in News - AP National

By SETH BORENSTEIN
AP Science Writer

Two American astronauts are taking a spacewalk to replace aging batteries on the International Space Station.

NASA's Anne McClain and Nick Hague are scheduled to work in space Friday for several hours to swap out three old nickel-hydrogen batteries with more powerful lithium-ion batteries.

The station's robotic arm did much of the heavy work already, but the astronauts still have to lug 300-pound adaptors the size of a large coffee table and reconnect attachments.

Even when the chore is complete, there will still be more of the 20-year-old station's original batteries to replace.

Friday's spacewalk is the first of three planned excursions to replace batteries and perform other maintenance. Next week's spacewalk will include the first all-female crew, including McClain.

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