USA spacewalkers fix ageing ISS robotic arm

Michigan Students to Speak with NASA Astronauts on Space Station

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

For Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik, this is his second mission to the International Space Station.

Astronaut Randy Bresnik works outside the space station's Columbus laboratory module during a spacewalk in November 2009.

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.

Canadarm2 riding the Mobile Base System along the Mobile Transporter railway, running the length of the station's main truss.

Coverage began at 6:30 a.m. EDT, but the spacewalk didn't commence until 8:05 a.m. Joe Acaba arrived at the space station September 12 for his third mission to space.

Frieling said wear and tear on the LEE became problematic in August, when the latches inside the grapple fixture "stalled out" and "required a little bit more force than normal to extend".

A few moments later, Vande Hei, making his first spacewalk, made his way outside.

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.

The station has a spare LEE stored outside the ISS, which the astronauts retrieved to make the fix.

The problem did not impact ISS operations, but the arm's hand, or Latching End Effector (LEE), needs fix.

For identification, Bresnik, call sign EV-1, is using helmet camera 18 and wearing a suit with red stripes.

The three spacewalks have been scheduled with the objective of tinkering around the ISS.

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. Vande Hei, EV-2, is wearing an unmarked suit and is using helmetcam 20.

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