By David S Lewis
Web news service Yahoo! News broadcast a live spacewalk on its Facebook page yesterday morning.
The spacewalk, conducted by astronauts Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson, both of NASA, was to make upgrades to the space station’s power system, including replacing 12 older nickel-hydrogen batteries with six lithium-ion batteries delivered last month. Whitson’s walk this morning was her seventh, tying her with NASA’s Suni William’s record for most spacewalks by a woman. The batteries store energy for the station generated by the solar arrays; while most of the batteries will return to Earth in an upcoming cargo shipment, several will stay with the space station. The footage of the upgrade, which took place on the starboard truss of the space station, came from cameras mounted on the helmets of their EMUs (Extravehicular Mobility Units), as well as other cameras mounted outside the craft and shots from mission control.
Yahoo! News rebroadcast the stream from NASA on their Facebook page, allowing thousands to watch the two-and-a-half hour broadcast as it took place. NASA provides live streaming of activities on and outside the ISS free of charge on the NASA Live tab of their website, as well as the Facebook page of the ISS, according to NASA spokesperson Jason Townsend.
“Those are the two places we decided to distribute it. It’s free, and available for anyone to use,” said Townsend.
This spacewalk is the first of two scheduled upgrade procedures to take place outside the ISS; the next will also air on NASA’s website, NASA TV, and on the ISS’s Facebook page. It’s scheduled for 13 January at 5:30 a.m. EST. Commander Kimbrough will revise his role as EV 1, indicated by red stripes on his EVU; the European Space Agency’s Thomas Pesquet will be joining him, making his first spacewalk.
Feature image: Expedition 50 crew members Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough of NASA capture a quick selfie during robotics training inside the Cupola of the International Space Station. Image source: NASA