In this first spacewalk, NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei will replace an aging machine called the Latching End Effector (LEE) at the end of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS), or Canadarm2.
Spacewalking astronauts are giving the International Space Station's big robot arm a new hand.
During three spacewalks on October 5, 10 and 18, astronauts will replace an aging Latching End Effector (LEE) at the end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Joe Acaba arrived at the space station September 12 for his third mission to space. This bundle of latches - more than a metre long - also attaches to grapple fixtures outside the space station.
The trio of spacewalks will be Bresnik's third, fourth and fifth, while Vande Hei will experience his first two spacewalks.
Canadarm2, the Canadian robotic arm is one of the essential tools on the ISS. It's two Latching End Effectors, or LEEs, have been worsening.
The 18m arm was instrumental in assembling the space station and is used to reach out and grab approaching cargo ships.More news: Quiz: How Well Do You Know Tom Petty?
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Ground controllers are remotely maneuvering the Canadarm2 to the correct worksite today to allow the spacewalkers access to its LEE.
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It was the first spacewalk for Vande Hei, a rookie astronaut who arrived at the orbiting outpost a few weeks ago.
In the near term, two more spacewalks are planned October 10 and 18 to lubricate the newly attached LEE-A fitting, to replace two cameras with degraded color and to carry out other routine maintenance.
Five days from now, on October 10th, Bresnik and Vande Hei will do another spacewalk to lubricate the new LEE and then replace a camera on the outside of the station. It hasn't caused any slowdown in standard ISS operations, and the crew keeps a spare LEE around in case of just such an emergency. Going into EVA-44, 126 astronauts and cosmonauts representing 10 nations had logged 1,258 hours and 15 minutes of station EVA time, or 52.4 days.