March 23, 2018

Spacewalking astronauts making repairs on International Space Station in October

06 October 2017, 12:23 | Ross Houston

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Floating in the Quest airlock, station commander Randy Bresnik and flight engineer Mark Vande Hei switched their spacesuits to battery power at 8:05 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) to officially kick off U.S. EVA-44, the first of three excursions planned over the next two weeks to service the Canadarm 2 space crane and carry out a variety of maintenance work.

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. Expedition 53 astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba will also "stand" on Canadarm2 during spacewalks on October 10 and October 18.

Bresnik and Acaba will participate in three spacewalks this month to service the space station's robotic arm and install new external cameras. The two identical LEEs of Canadarm2 are used to grapple incoming cargo vehicles and payloads and to provide data and telemetry to the rest of the Canadian-built Mobile Base System.

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They duo have been assigned to revolve around getting the Canadian robotic arm in good shape for doing work outside ISS. One LEE is connected to the ISS by attaching the arm to the station; the other is extended into space and grabs the objects. Another five days later, October 15th, Bresnik will be joined by NASA astronaut Joe Acaba for a third spacewalk on to do more lubrication and another camera replacement. The Canadarm2 has started experiencing some wear and tear. While this will be the first-ever spacewalk of the latter, it will mark the third one of Bresnik.

Two more walks are scheduled, one on October 10 and the other this month on October 18. Two latching mechanisms at each end of the arm, called Latching End Effectors (LEE) have been deteriorating.

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