Spacewalking astronauts worked at giving the International Space Station's big robot arm, the Canadarm 2, a new hand Thursday. Expedition 53 astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba will also "stand" on Canadarm2 during spacewalks on October 10 and October 18.
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 has two identical LEEs that are used to grab visiting spacecraft, as well as provide data and telemetry to the rest of the Canadian-built Mobile Base System. For the third spacewalk, Acaba will join Bresnik instead. One LEE typically stays attached to the ISS, anchoring the arm to the station; the other is extended out into space to grab objects.
A few moments later, Vande Hei, making his first spacewalk, made his way outside. It's two Latching End Effectors, or LEEs, have been worsening. 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. Vande Hei, EV-2, is wearing an unmarked suit and is using helmetcam 20.
The astronauts will fix the latching mechanism on the end of the Canadian robotic arm which is not functioning properly. The arm is like an dexterous snake-like instrument that extends up to almost 60 feet in the space and grabs large object.
Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences created to enhance student learning, performance and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The spacewalk is the first of three planned over the next two weeks.
Bresnik's third spacewalk and the first for Vande Hei.
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 spacewalk is scheduled for October 10, and the third for October 18. 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.