Space station astronauts ventured out Friday on their second spacewalk this week to swap more batteries.
As Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch emerged from the International Space Station, NASA announced the death of the world’s first spacewalker, Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov at age 85.
His 12-minute spacewalk on March 18, 1965, preceded the first U.S. spacewalk by Ed White by less than three months.
“A tribute to Leonov as today is a spacewalk,” Mission Control in Houston reported.
Leonov also was the Russian commander of the Apollo-Soyuz joint space mission in 1975, a prelude to the international cooperation seen aboard the current space station.
Morgan and Koch swiftly continued their work to replace decade-old batteries in the station’s solar power network with new and improved lithium-ion versions.
It’s the second of five spacewalks planned this month to install six new batteries that arrived via a Japanese supply ship two weeks ago. Morgan and Koch began the outdoor work Sunday.
Morgan has been aboard the space station since July. Koch is two-thirds of the way into what will be the longest single spaceflight by a woman, 300-plus days. On the fourth spacewalk of this series, on Oct. 21, Koch and Jessica Meir will perform the world’s first all-female spacewalk.