This is the extraordinary moment an astronaut installing new batteries on the outside the International Space Station pauses his work to exclaim at the beauty of the sunrise from space during a live stream.
Christina Koch, 40, and Andrew Morgan, 43, removed three old solar power batteries and installed two new ones by hand, lugging the 180kg cells along the side of the ship in the first of five spacewalks on Sunday.
Whilst peering over the side of the space craft Dr Morgan can be heard exclaiming: ‘Oh my goodness, it’s gorgeous, being in a suit during a sunrise, it’s pretty awesome.’
Dr Koch replies: ‘Yeh, I know’ before continuing her work attaching a new battery while communicating with ground control.
The new lithium-ion batteries to be installed are so powerful that only one is needed for every two old ones.
Mission Control radioed to the group on Sunday: ‘Awesome work today. We have made great progress.’
Dr Koch replied: ‘It has been a wonderful day … we look forward to the rest of the series.’
Koch and Morgan will venture back out Friday for more battery work 250 miles (400 km) up.
The 428lb (180kg) batteries – half the size of a refrigerator – are part of the space station’s solar power network.
Astronauts have been upgrading them since 2017 and are now more than halfway done.
The old ones are 10 years old; the new ones are expected to last until the end of the space station’s life, providing vital power on the night side of the Earth.
Eight large solar ‘wings’ power the space station, with four on either side of the structure.
The photovoltaic cells provide electricity to the station during the hours of sunlight and send energy to a bank to be stored for use when the station is in the shadow of Earth.
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Source: Daily Mail