NASA astronauts to venture outside ISS for October's first spacewalk today

06 October, 2017, 00:46 | Author: Irene Delgado
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NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei are tasked with replacing the LEE with another spare one that's now attached to the outside of the space station. For the third spacewalk, Acaba will join Bresnik instead.

The trio of spacewalks will be Bresnik's third, fourth and fifth, while Vande Hei will experience his first two spacewalks.

"And Houston, that might have been one small step for a man, but one giant leap for Sabot", Bresnik said, using Vande Hei's nickname.

"Congratulations, my friend, on becoming the 221st human to exit in your own personal spacecraft into the void of space", said Bresnik, a veteran spacewalker. Vande Hei, EV-2, is wearing an unmarked suit and is using helmetcam 20.

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

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.

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"The major objective of this first spacewalk is to swap out the degraded Latching End Effector on the Canadarm2 with an identical unit that's now located on the mobile transporter" outside the space station, Judd Frieling, NASA's spacewalk flight director, said at a news conference Monday (Oct. 2). The arm also relays power, data and video to and from attached payloads. 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.

Their main work involved the latching end of the Canadian-made arm, known as Canadarm2. "We're actually very pleased that both LEEs lasted this long", he said. "There are a lot of mechanisms, lots of on-board avionics, a camera, a force-and-moment sensor, it may be one of the most complex electro-mechanical packages that we've flown in space".

The arm can also move like an inchworm across the space station by grabbing onto special fixtures.

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

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

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