NASA astronauts start spacewalk

Casey Dawson
October 6, 2017

On Thursday, October 5, two NASA astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) - Experdition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Mark Van Hei - will venture outside the orbiting laboratory to put things in order. And now, it is used in performing the inspection on the outside of the ISS and grab and dock incoming cargo spacecraft.

Canadarm2 has two identical LEEs that are used to grab visiting spacecraft, as well as provide data and telemetry to the rest of the Canadian-built Mobile Base System. Canadarm flew on 90 missions between 1981 and 2011, helping with things like setting up the Hubble Telescope, retrieving a stranded communications satellite and building the space station.

NASA TV coverage of the spacewalks will begin at 6:30 am EDT.

In this frame from a computer animation, Bresnik and Vande Hei are shown working to replace the grappling mechanism on one end of the space station's robot arm that has experienced age-related problems.

This came as no surprise, however, as the two LEEs on Canadarm2 have already exceeded their life expectancy, said Tim Braithwaite, the ISS program liaison for the Canadian Space Agency.

The two latching mechanisms, one on each end of the arm, have been used almost 400 times. "Here at 16 years, for an item this complex, we're very pleased both LEEs lasted this long".

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Bresnik and Vande Hei will venture back outside October 10 while Joe Acaba will join the station commander for the October 18 excursion. A spare LEE is located along the side of the station's truss.

The duo have been tasked to replace the arm. Then, they'll gather their tools and head back to the Quest airlock.

The second and third spacewalks will concentrate on the lubrication of the LEE and the installation of a pair of external cameras.

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

Bresnik's third spacewalk and the first for Vande Hei. As extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), Bresnik gets to wear the suit with red stripes on it, while Vande Hei (EV 2) will wear a plain white suit.

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