‘Honey – I’m just popping out to boost the battery on the international Space craft … again’

NASA flight engineer Peggy Whitson (centre) and fellow Expedition 50 crew members Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Shane Kimbrough of NASA take a battery-charging break during training inside the cupola of the International Space Station.
NASA flight engineer Peggy Whitson (centre) and fellow Expedition 50 crew members Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Shane Kimbrough of NASA take a battery-charging break during training inside the cupola of the International Space Station. Photo source: NASA.

With the accelerating drive to de-carbonise motor transport with BPVs (battery-power vehicles), ‘charging up’ the battery for the family car will ultimately take on a completely new meaning for millions of consumers.**

And it may also change the traditional male-orientated motor-vehicle maintenance stereotype to a female-based perspective.

And this is already happening in Space … the final frontier – where flight engineer Peggy Whitson, a NASA astronaut, is due to ‘pop out’ for a spacewalk on Friday (6 Jan 2017) to install adapter plates and hook up electrical connections for six new lithium-ion batteries on Expedition-50 on board the International Space Station.

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.

Whitson will be making the seventh spacewalk of her career – matching the record of NASA’s Suni Williams for most spacewalks by a woman – when she will be designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2).

For more information: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

** Almost none of this literally – ‘out of this world’ – BPV technology will be included in the government’s new Scottish Energy Strategy, due to be published by Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse later this month.

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