How to watch NASA's first spacewalk of 2019

Image: Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques are pictured in betw
Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques are pictured between a pair of spacesuits that are stowed inside the Quest airlock, where U.S. spacewalks are staged. Copyright NASA
By Denise Chow with NBC News Tech and Science News
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Two astronauts will work to upgrade the International Space Station's power system.


Two NASA astronauts will conduct the first spacewalk of the year Friday at the International Space Station.

Flight engineers Anne McClain and Nick Hague are scheduled to begin their excursion at 8:05 a.m. ET. The pair is expected to spend about 6.5 hours performing maintenance along the space station's truss structure.

NASA TV will broadcast the spacewalklive online, with their coverage set to begin at 6:30 a.m. ET.

McClain and Hague will work to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries that power a section of the space station's solar arrays with lithium-ion versions that NASA says are newer and more powerful. The agency added that this work is part of a broader effort that first got underway in January 2017 to overhaul the space station's power system.

Both McClain and Hague will be making their spacewalking debuts. McClain launched to the station on her first trip to space in December 2018. Hague arrived at the space station on March 14. He was originally scheduled to fly to the station in October 2018, but a rocket malfunction shortly after liftoff forced his Russian-built Soyuz capsule to make an emergency return to Earth.

Next week, McClain will conduct her second spacewalk, but this excursion will be one for the history books. The outing will be NASA's first all-female spacewalk. McClain will be joined on the spacewalk by fellow NASA astronaut Christina Koch and will be aided on the ground by flight directors Mary Lawrence and Kristen Facciol in Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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