Space Station Astronauts Are Taking a Spacewalk Today

Bob Zimmerman

Two Nasa astronauts wrapped up a successful spacewalk on Thursday (Oct 5) to fix the International Space Station's (ISS') ageing robotic arm, the U.S. space agency said. NASA astronaut Joe Acaba will join Bresnik for the third and final spacewalk. Now, efforts will focus on the robotic arm, informally known as Canadarm2. The LEEs feature internal snares that rotate and tighten to lock onto grapple fixtures while latches engage to supply power, data and additional rigidity. Much like the name implies, it is a snake-like robotic arm which can extend up to almost 60 feet (18 meters) into space.

One LEE typically is used to anchor the arm at various attachment points on the lab complex while the LEE at the other end is used to lock onto and move visiting spacecraft or other large components.

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. It's two Latching End Effectors, or LEEs, have been worsening. It is one of the most crucial tools on the ISS. The other one is also set for repairs, but that has been postponed for January.

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Five days from now, on October 10th, Bresnik and Vande Hei will do another spacewalk to lubricate the new LEE and then replace a camera on the outside of the station.

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.

Live coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 6:30 a.m. EDT (1030 GMT), when the two spacewalkers will put on their spacesuits. The astronauts onboard the mission are Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Mark Van Hei.

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