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
DEC 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2019
LightSail-2 Spacecraft Demonstrates Viability of Solar Sails
The future of space travel looks bright, especially considering the fact that future deep-space probes could utilize passive solar sails to get to their de...
DEC 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2019
Elon Musk Shows Off SpaceX's Shiny New Starship
If you’ve been paying any attention to SpaceX lately, then you’ve undoubtedly caught wind of the plethora of controlled launching and landing t...
DEC 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2019
NASA Unveils New Space Suits for the Artemis Program
NASA’s Artemis program promises to revolutionize deep space travel in ways that many never thought imaginable. One of the most significant things Art...
DEC 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2019
NASA Wants Visit Pluto and Beyond... Again
Most probably remember the historic moments in the Summer of 2015 when NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past the dwarf planet Pluto to capture the...
DEC 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2019
Could the Successful Juno Mission See an Extension Beyond 2021?
The Juno mission, launched by NASA in 2011 to explore the fascinating Jovian system, finally arrived at its destination in 2016. Since then, the spacecraft...
DEC 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2019
SpaceX's Starship Prototype Explodes During Pressure Test
SpaceX is best known for its Falcon-series of rockets that often resupply the International Space Station and ferry satellites into space to deploy an orbi...
Loading Comments...