Sci-tech

NASA streams first of three October spacewalks

NASA streams first of three October spacewalks

NASA Commander Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei floated out Thursday morning to replace one of two Latching End Effectors (LEE) on the Canadarm2. Joe Acaba arrived at the space station September 12 for his third mission to space.

A few moments later, Vande Hei, making his first spacewalk, made his way outside.

"Appreciate those words", Vande Hei replied. To tell the two apart during the webcast, look for the red stripes on Bresnik's suit.

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. It's the first of three NASA spacewalks planned over the next two weeks.

"The major objective of this first spacewalk is to swap out the degraded Latching End Effector on the Canadarm2 with an identical unit that's now located on the mobile transporter" outside the space station, Judd Frieling, NASA's spacewalk flight director, said at a news conference Monday (Oct. 2).

The astronauts will fix the latching mechanism on the end of the Canadian robotic arm which is not functioning properly.

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The Canadarm 2 measures 57.7 feet long, weighs almost 4,000 pounds, has seven joints and, in the weightless environment of low-Earth orbit, can move large spacecraft and modules from one point to another.

The arm is integral to space station operations and can extend 60 feet off ISS, grabbing visiting cargo vehicles and payloads. They are complex devices which integrate a camera, sensors, and electronics.

A spare LEE is stored outside on the station's truss.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't experience wear and tear.

The duo have been tasked to replace the arm. The faulty LEE will be repositioned on the mobile transporter and eventually returned to Earth for repairs.

While conducting a spacewalk during shuttle mission STS-123 in 2008, NASA astronaut Rick Linnehan is anchored to the end of Canadarm2. "The life of the components, we used a 10-year figure". The second spacewalk is scheduled for October 10, and the third for October 18.