French and US astronauts spacewalk and successfully repair the space station

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet floated into space on his first-ever spacewalk Friday, and helped install three new, refrigerator-sized lithium-ion batteries to upgrade the power system at the International Space Station. Then, they carried out a series of maintenance jobs, performing six extra tasks in all, before the spacewalk ended   five hours and 58 minutes later at 12:20 p.m.
— Intl. Spacewalkers use tethers to stay attached to the station as they orbit 250 miles above Earth. Eventually, all 48 of the old batteries on board will be replaced with new ones. Parmitano said that ahead of Friday’s spacewalk, he gave Pesquet some words of advice: go slow and take plenty of pictures. .@Thom_astro has retrieved a new bag from the airlock with a replacement part and is moving towards a failed camera light
— Human Spaceflight (@esaspaceflight) January 13, 2017
“This is Pesquet’s first foray into the vacuum of space,” a NASA commentator said as a live broadcast from the US space agency showed Pesquet’s booted feet dangling out of the airlock as he made his way outside. Space Station (@Space_Station) January 13, 2017
After a spacewalk earlier this month by Kimbrough, 49, and veteran US astronaut Peggy Whitson, 56, a total of six lithium-ion batteries are now installed.
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) January 13, 2017
The pair made speedy progress. Parmitano is also a friend of Pesquet. About three hours into the spacewalk, they had finished their main goal of connecting adapter plates for the three lithium-ion batteries. (1122 GMT). When it was over, Parmitano told the men from his seat at mission control: “Thank you for your hard work. (1720 GMT). Space Station (@Space_Station) January 13, 2017
New batteries
The new batteries weigh about 428 pounds each, and replace older, but far lighter, nickel hydrogen batteries.
— Intl. Wearing a white spacesuit with the French flag emblazoned on one shoulder, Pesquet and US astronaut   Shane Kimbrough switched on their spacesuits’ internal battery power to mark the official start of the spacewalk at 6:22 a.m. The spacewalk was the 197th for maintenance and assembly at the orbiting outpost, a global science collaboration of more than a dozen nations including Russia, the United States and Japan. They trained together for six years in the European astronaut corps. Back at mission control in Houston, Texas, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano orchestrated the spacewalk, giving the men directions and asking them periodically to check their gloves and helmets. Spacewalkers @Astro_Kimbrough and @Thom_Astro make good time completing a pair of “get-ahead” tasks. Shortly after the start of one of those spacewalks, Parmitano’s helmet began filling with a water leak and he had to be rushed back inside the station for emergency aid. A NASA commentator described the outing as “completely successful,” as the two men, clad in bulky white spacesuits and gloves, grasped hands and high-fived each other inside the space station. It was Kimbrough’s fourth career spacewalk. The European Space Agency described Parmitano’s role as lead communicator as “a recognition of ESA’s expertise in station operations.”
Parmitano went on two spacewalks during his six-month mission in 2013. First outing for Pesquet
Pesquet, 38, is the fourth French astronaut to perform a spacewalk, and the 11th European. The batteries store energy and supply the solar-powered orbiting lab when it flies in Earth’s shadow. It has been a privilege.”  
By AFP’s   Kerry Sheridan. Astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet finish spacewalk at 12:20pm ET (5:20pm GMT) after 5 hrs, 58 min. The space station travels at a speed of more than 17,000 miles per hour, and circles the Earth about every 90 minutes, periodically moving through light and darkness.