Powering the International Space Station (ISS) 24/7, 365 is a challenge — even for the nation’s top scientists at NASA.One unique aspect of this challenge is providing power to the station when solar energy is not an option — that job is left to the space station’s powerful batteries.
NASA astronauts just completed a six and a half hour spacewalk in order to replace the space station’s existing batteries and provide the ISS with a major upgrade.
The batteries aboard the ISS are crucial for providing power to the space station when orbital darkness prevents sunlight from reaching the solar cells.
NASA astronauts installed modern, cutting-edge Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries to replace the aging Ni-H2 batteries that previously powered the space station. Li-Ion batteries are much lighter and smaller than the Ni-H2 batteries they are replacing and will serve as an immediate upgrade for the ISS.
One Li-Ion battery is as powerful as two Ni-H2 batteries — this means half the number of total batteries are needed to power the ISS and the missions needed to replace the batteries will be cut in half.