Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

NASA streams first of three October spacewalks

Bob Zimmerman Michigan Students to Speak with NASA Astronauts on Space Station
Garry Little | 06 October, 2017, 00:23

Floating in the Quest airlock, station commander Randy Bresnik and flight engineer Mark Vande Hei switched their spacesuits to battery power at 8:05 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) to officially kick off U.S. EVA-44, the first of three excursions planned over the next two weeks to service the Canadarm 2 space crane and carry out a variety of maintenance work.

The outing by Americans Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei ended at 3pm (3am on Friday Singapore time), marking a "very successful day", a Nasa spokesman said.

As per the space agency, Bresnik and Vande Hei will walk up to the ISS in order to replace one of the two Latching End Effectors (LEE) on the station's robotic arm Canadarm2.

Canadarm2, the Canadian robotic arm is one of the essential tools on the ISS. The LEEs, located at either end of the arm, also provide other crucial data through complex electronics, camera and sensors, NASA officials said, but the arm was launched over 15 years ago and is in need of fix.

The spacewalk will be the first out of their three planned for October that having the aim to get the Canadian robotic arm in good shape for doing effective work outside the ISS. In the early 2000s, Canadarm2 was used to help move and install large pieces of equipment.

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

The next two spacewalks, on October 10 and October 18, will focus on lubricating the joints in the new LEE using a device called a ballscrew lubrication tool, or BLT.

The three spacewalks have been scheduled with the goal of tinkering around the ISS.

The problem did not impact ISS operations, but the arm's hand, or Latching End Effector (LEE), needs fix. Nespoli will position the LEE between the two spacewalkers as they dangle from foot restraints on the space station's truss.

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