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Watch year’s 1st spacewalk on Friday

Two ISS astronauts will perform the 1st spacewalk of 2017 on Friday, January 6. Live TV coverage starts at 5:30 a.m. EST (1030 UTC). The spacewalk begins at 7 a.m. EST (1200 UTC).

ISS 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 via NASA

Two International Space Station (ISS) astronauts will venture outside the spacecraft on Friday (January 6, 2017) at 7 a.m. EST (1200 UTC) to perform a complex upgrade to the station’s power system. Coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 5:30 a.m. EST (1030 UTC) on NASA TV.

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Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA will perform Friday’s spacewalk. This will be Kimbrough’s third spacewalk. He’ll be be designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes. Whitson will be making the seventh spacewalk of her career. She’ll be designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes.

The work will continue on January 13 during a second spacewalk, which will be conducted by Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency).

Here’s what the astronauts will be doing outside the station, according to a NASA statement:

Working on the right side truss of the space station, the crew members will install adapter plates and hook up electrical connections for six new lithium-ion batteries that were delivered to the station in December, 2016.

Prior to each spacewalk, the new batteries will be robotically extracted from a pallet to replace 12 older nickel-hydrogen batteries through a series of robotic operations. Nine of the older batteries will be stowed in a cargo resupply craft for later disposal, while three will remain on the station’s truss, disconnected from the power grid. The robotic operations will not air on NASA TV.

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Bottom line: on Friday, January 6, two ISS astronauts will perform the first spacewalk of 2017.

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