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

Michigan Students to Speak with NASA Astronauts on Space Station

Michigan Students to Speak with NASA Astronauts on Space Station

In this first spacewalk, NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei will replace an aging machine called the Latching End Effector (LEE) at the end of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS), or Canadarm2. NASA astronaut Joe Acaba will join Bresnik for the third and final spacewalk.

Canadarm2, the Canadian robotic arm is one of the essential tools on the ISS. This bundle of latches - more than a metre long - also attaches to grapple fixtures outside the space station. The skillful instrument can extend up to closely 60 feet into space and grab onto large objects.

The primary goal of the spacewalk is to replace latching end effector A, or LEE-A, one of two grappling mechanisms on the station's Canadian-built robot arm.

This will be the first of three spacewalks taking place this month for maintenance at the International Space Station. They're complex devices, incorporating sensors, electronics, and a camera, so reparations are not an easy feat.

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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 other one is also set for repairs, but that has been postponed for January.

Bresnik and Acaba will participate in three spacewalks this month to service the space station's robotic arm and install new external cameras. The spacewalk is the first of three planned over the next two weeks.

Each spacewalk is scheduled to start at approximately 8:05 am EDT, however, the spacewalks may begin earlier if the crew is running ahead of schedule.

NASA says USA astronauts on the station are taking part in the walk - Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei.

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