ISS spacewalk to replace Canadarm2 part

Bob Zimmerman

The two NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei's spacewalk is the first of the three planned for October. You can watch all the action in a livestream here, courtesy of NASA TV. One LEE is connected to the ISS by attaching the arm to the station; the other is extended into space and grabs the objects. The LEE works as the "hand" of Canadarm2 and is used to grapple 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.

"The arm was created to last for the whole duration of the space station program, with maintenance", said Braithwaite.

Bresnik and Vande Hei are working to replace one of the two Latching End Effectors on Canadarm2, the space station's robotic arm.

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.

They replaced one of two Latching End Effectors (LEE) which had lost the ability to grip effectively, said the USA space agency.

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All the three spacewalks of October are slated to begin at 8:05 am EDT (8:05 pm SST) but they may begin early if the crew runs ahead of the schedule.

During one or more spacewalks early next year, the arm's LEE-B grappler will be removed and replaced with a spare now mounted on an external storage platform. "Here at 16 years, for an item this complex, we're very pleased both LEEs lasted this long".

Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik will be leading all three missions, which will focus on repairs to the robotic arm, Canadarm2.

Within an hour-and-a-half, the spacewalkers had unbolted the degraded mechanism from the arm and turned their attention to the replacement part. Then, they'll gather their tools and head back to the Quest airlock.

The trio of spacewalks will be Bresnik's third, fourth and fifth, while Vande Hei will experience his first two spacewalks. The second spacewalk is scheduled for October 10, and the third for October 18. Joe Acaba arrived at the space station September 12 for his third mission to space. Vande Hei, EV-2, is wearing an unmarked suit and is using helmetcam 20.

Bresnik will lead all three of the scheduled spacewalks.

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