Space Station Astronauts Are Taking a Spacewalk Today

06 October, 2017, 00:44 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Michigan Students to Speak with NASA Astronauts on Space Station

Three astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) will be taking the first of three October spacewalks today.

Thursday's spacewalk was the first of three scheduled spacewalks this month aimed at repairing and maintaining various pieces of equipment outside the ISS, and was the 203rd spacewalk in the history of the space station.

NASA says USA astronauts on the station are taking part in the walk - Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei.

The first spacewalk will focus on the removal and replacement of one of the Canadarm2's latching end effectors (LEE).

The Canadarm was retired in 2011 when NASA ended the space shuttle program, though the bigger Canadarm 2 remains in space as part of the International Space Station. For the third spacewalk, Acaba will join Bresnik instead. 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 Canadian-built arm has been in orbit for 16 years.

The two identical LEE mechanisms allow the arm to move inchworm fashion from one mounting point to another on the station's exterior.


All the three spacewalks of October are slated to begin at 8:05 am EDT (8:05 pm SST), but it is possible to start earlier if the astronauts are moving ahead of schedule.

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

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

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

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.

The second and third spacewalks will concentrate on the lubrication of the LEE and the installation of a pair of external cameras. Going into EVA-44, 126 astronauts and cosmonauts representing 10 nations had logged 1,258 hours and 15 minutes of station EVA time, or 52.4 days.

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