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Spacewalking astronauts making repairs on International Space Station in October

06 October 2017, 12:43 | Myrtle Vega

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The first of the three spacewalks is being carried out by Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei, both NASA astronauts.

This morning, two NASA astronauts will do a spacewalk outside the International Space Station in order to fix the orbiting lab's main robotic appendage: the Canadian robotic arm. Another five days later, October 15th, Bresnik will be joined by NASA astronaut Joe Acaba for a third spacewalk on to do more lubrication and another camera replacement.

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.

The primary goal of the spacewalk is to replace latching end effector A, or LEE-A, one of two grappling mechanisms on the station's Canadian-built robot arm.

The arm is integral to space station operations and can extend 60 feet off ISS, grabbing visiting cargo vehicles and payloads. Bresnik and Vande Hei will conduct the second spacewalk together.

They replaced one of two Latching End Effectors (LEE) which had lost the ability to grip effectively, said the U.S. space agency. This will be the first of three spacewalks taking place this month for maintenance at the International Space Station. Last month, one of its gripping mechanisms, known as a Latching End Effector (LEE), started stalling.

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Canadarm2, the Canadian robotic arm is one of the essential tools on the ISS.

Ground controllers are remotely maneuvering the Canadarm2 to the correct worksite today to allow the spacewalkers access to its LEE.

Canadarm2 was launched in 2001, so it's starting to experience some wear and tear. A spare LEE is located along the side of the station's truss.

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. While this will be the first-ever spacewalk of the latter, it will mark the third one of Bresnik.

Similar to the International Space Station, this new space station will be open to to astronauts and cosmonauts globally.



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