77ºF

NASA astronauts head back out for more spacewalking work outside ISS

Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy perform more maintenance on space station

In this image taken from NASA video, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, right answers a question as fellow astronaut Robert L. Behnken listens during an interview aboard the International Space Station, Monday, June 29, 2020. Cassidy, the commander of the International Space Station said Monday that losing a mirror during last weeks otherwise successful spacewalk was a real bummer.  Cassidy said he has no idea how the small mirror on his left sleeve came off. The band for the mirror is on pretty tight, he noted, and it may have caught on a metal tether attachment as he exited the airlock Friday.  (NASA via AP)
In this image taken from NASA video, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, right answers a question as fellow astronaut Robert L. Behnken listens during an interview aboard the International Space Station, Monday, June 29, 2020. Cassidy, the commander of the International Space Station said Monday that losing a mirror during last weeks otherwise successful spacewalk was a real bummer. Cassidy said he has no idea how the small mirror on his left sleeve came off. The band for the mirror is on pretty tight, he noted, and it may have caught on a metal tether attachment as he exited the airlock Friday. (NASA via AP) (NASA)

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy are going back out into the vacuum of space Wednesday to perform more maintenance on the International Space Station.

The veteran astronauts last ventured out of the ISS airlock on June 24 to begin installing new batteries on the orbiting laboratory 200 miles above Earth. They will do it again Wednesday around 7:30 a.m. to continue their work.

During their second spacewalk in four days, the pair will need to install one more lithium-ion battery and one more adapter plate as well as remove a sixth nickel-hydrogen battery, according to NASA. It should take about six to seven hours.

During the prior first walk, the astronauts worked ahead of schedule completing some of the tasks planned for Wednesday.

The previous spacewalk was mostly uneventful as it should have been except for a minor hiccup when a tiny mirror on Cassidy’s spacesuit came off as he exited the space station.

As he stepped out of the ISS, Cassidy lost a small mirror on his spacesuit adding to the millions of pieces of junk orbiting the Earth.

Spacewalking astronauts wear a wrist mirror on each sleeve to get better views while working. The mirror is just 5 inches by 3 inches, and together with its band has a mass of barely one-tenth of a pound. The lost item posed no risk to either the spacewalk or the station, according to NASA.

Cassidy later said he has no idea how the small mirror on his left sleeve came off. The band for the mirror is on pretty tight, he noted, and it may have caught on a metal tether attachment as he exited the airlock Friday.

“I just happened to glance down and I saw this reflecting thing disappearing into the darkness, and that was the last I saw of it,” Cassidy said in an interview with The Associated Press. “That was a real bummer for me.”

Wednesday’s spacewalk will mark the eighth for both Cassidy and Behnken. The astronauts will be recognizable in the NASA TV feed by their spacesuits. Cassidy will be wearing the suit with the red strips while Behnken’s suit does not have stripes.

Behnken and NASA astronaut Doug Hurley made history last month when they became the first Americans to launch from U.S. soil since 2011, as well as the first to launch on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket.

Hurley and Behnken are expected to return home in August, NASA officials said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Subscribe to a weekly newsletter to receive the latest in space news directly to your inbox here.


About the Author: