NASA streams first of three October spacewalks

NASA streams first of three October spacewalks

NASA streams first of three October spacewalks

The two NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei's spacewalk is the first of the three planned for October.

Canadarm2, the Canadian robotic arm is one of the essential tools on the ISS. You can watch all the action in a livestream here, courtesy of NASA TV.

NASA's coverage of this morning's spacewalk is set to begin at 6:30AM ET, and the event should last well into the afternoon.

In this frame from a computer animation, Bresnik and Vande Hei are shown working to replace the grappling mechanism on one end of the space station's robot arm that has experienced age-related problems. Today, it's routinely used to do inspections on the outside of the ISS, as well as grab and dock incoming cargo spacecraft. One LEE is connected to the ISS by attaching the arm to the station; the other is extended into space and grabs the objects. The arm also can mount itself atop a mobile transporter that runs on rails along the front side of the station's solar power truss to move the arm to various work sites. Components of the LEEs were created to last 10 to 15 years, and it's been 16 years since they were installed.

Each LEE is a "very complex package", Braithwaite said. "We thought we'd probably be doing this maintenance before now".

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In recent years, telemetry has indicated age-related degradation in the latching end effectors. It hasn't caused any slowdown in standard ISS operations, and the crew keeps a spare LEE around in case of just such an emergency. Canadarm flew on 90 missions between 1981 and 2011, helping with things like setting up the Hubble Telescope, retrieving a stranded communications satellite and building 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.

The duo have been tasked to replace the arm.

The second and third spacewalks will concentrate on the lubrication of the LEE and the installation of a pair of external cameras. Joe Acaba arrived at the space station September 12 for his third mission to space.

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

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