OCT 05, 2017 11:39 AM PDT

U.S. Astronauts Just Performed a Spacewalk to Repair the International Space Station's Robotic Arm

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Two American astronauts, Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei, were tasked with a spacewalk Thursday morning. The focus of the mission was to perform maintenance on the International Space Station’s robotic arm, also known as Canadarm2.

Canadarm2 pictured back in 2005, along with astronaut Steve Robinson.

Image Credit: Steve Robinson/NASA

The two-man crew began their spacewalk at 8:05 A.M. Eastern time, and it continued well into the afternoon. NASA initially quoted 6.5-hours for the spacewalk; while it took almost 7 hours in total, the estimate was relatively close.

In particular, the astronauts serviced the robotic arm’s outermost Latching End Effector (LEE), which has suffered from wear and tear associated with old age. Recently, the motors inside the grappling mechanism stalled out, causing reliability concerns.

Related: American astronauts set history by completing 200th spacewalk

Canadarm2 is essential for safely docking cargo ships with the International Space Station so that astronauts onboard get fresh food, science experiments, and supplies every few months. Because these shipments are critical for the routine function of the International Space Station, fixing the malfunctioning LEE was of the utmost importance.

To fix the problem, Thursday's spacewalk crew replaced the defective LEE with a new one. Fortunately, a spare was sitting in storage on one of the International Space Station’s external trusses, so all they had to do was switch the old unit out with said spare.

The maintenance should help restore proper function to the International Space Station's robotic arm, but it still needs to be lubricated before it's ready for real-world use. At least two more spacewalks are planned for October to finish the job and perform additional maintenance to the International Space Station.

Canadarm 2 has served the International Space Station for over a decade, and with Thursday’s repairs, it should continue doing so for many more years to come.

Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 06, 2020
Physics in Peril? (Part III) - A Problem at A Cosmic Scale
It is safe to say that astrophysicist Edwin Hubble redefined the universe as we knew back in the early 20th century.&nbs ...
FEB 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 02, 2020
NASA Officially Retires the Spitzer Space Telescope
NASA is always sending spacecraft into space to explore the universe around us; be it the close-proximity stellar neighb ...
FEB 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 09, 2020
Here's Why NASA Needs Another Space Station Orbiting the Moon
NASA already has the International Space Station at its disposal, and with that in mind, many have come to question why ...
FEB 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 16, 2020
Just How Powerful is a Piece of Space Debris?
One of the most commonly discussed topics in space science today is the space junk problem, in which space junk collides ...
FEB 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 17, 2020
SpaceX Launches More Starlink Satellites, But Fails First Stage Landing
SpaceX launched yet another one of its renowned Falcon 9 rockets on Monday, this time carrying a plethora of its Starlin ...
MAR 29, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 29, 2020
NASA is Sending This Golden Box to Mars to Make Oxygen
NASA’s Perseverance rover, formerly known as just the Mars 2020 rover, will do quite a bit more than merely drive ...
Loading Comments...