Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques is scheduled to perform his first spacewalk next Monday, venturing outside the International Space Station alongside NASA colleague Anne McClain.
The purpose of the roughly seven-hour walk is to connect jumper cables that will give an alternative power source for the 17-metre Canadarm2, according to the Canadian Space Agency.
Canadarm2 is a sort of robotic hand that is crucial to maintaining the space station.
The agency said the two astronauts will also “upgrade the ISS’s wireless communications system” and install other equipment used for experiments.
In a briefing Tuesday, NASA said another task has been added to the spacewalk, removing a defective piece so a mechanical arm can later install a nickel-hydrogen battery.
In case of a power outage on the space station, the cables to be installed by Saint-Jacques and McClain will allow the Canadarm2 to make repairs to the station without the need for a spacewalk.
“Any time we send the astronauts out to conduct (a spacewalk), there’s risk associated with performing those operations,” NASA flight director Rick Henfling said. “There’s nothing unique that the crew members have not been exposed to as far as training on the ground.”
He said Saint-Jacques and McClain have performed similar tasks during training in a pool that simulates the weightlessness of space. “We’re highly confident in their abilities to execute the tasks on this spacewalk,” he said.
WATCH: David Saint-Jacques on life in space (December 2018)