NASA Announces Changes to Spacewalk Schedule, First All-Female Spacewalk

NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 4:30 p.m. EDT today to discuss this weeks first all-female spacewalk at the International Space Station. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agencys website.

Kenny Todd, manager of International Space Station Operations Integration, and Megan McArthur, deputy chief of NASAs Astronaut Office, will talk to and take questions from media about recent changes to the agencys spacewalk schedule and moving forward with efforts to upgrade the space stations power system.

To participate in todays teleconference, media must call 281-483-5111 by 4:20 p.m. for dial-in information.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
Credits: NASA

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture outside the space station at 7:50 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 or Friday, Oct. 18. Live coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agencys website.

Space station managers have postponed three spacewalks previously scheduled for this and next week to install new batteries in order to first replace a faulty battery charge/discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU failed to activate following the Oct. 11 installation of new lithium-ion batteries on the space stations truss. The three spacewalks previously planned to continue the installation of additional lithium-ion batteries will be rescheduled.

The BCDU failure has not impacted station operations, safety of the crew, or the ongoing experiments aboard the orbiting laboratory, many in preparation for future human missions to the Moon and Mars. The stations overall power supply, which is fed by four sets of batteries and solar arrays, remains sufficient for all operations. However, the faulty power unit does prevent a set of batteries installed earlier this month from providing increased station power.

The BCDUs regulate the amount of charge put into the batteries that collect energy from the stations solar arrays to power station systems during periods when the station orbits during nighttime passes around Earth. Two other charge/discharge units on the affected 2B power channel did activate as planned and are providing power to station systems.

This will be Kochs fourth spacewalk and Meirs first. Watch video of the two discussing the possibility of conducting a spacewalk together at:

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