US spacewalkers float out to lubricate robotic arm

Two US astronauts embarked on a spacewalk to repair to the International Space Station's robotic arm. This NASA picture show astronauts working on the arm on October 5 | © NASA TV/AFP | Handout
Two US astronauts embarked on a spacewalk to repair to the International Space Station's robotic arm. This NASA picture show astronauts working on the arm on October 5 | © NASA TV/AFP | Handout

Miami (AFP) | 10 October 2017 12:27

Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik is leading the outing, accompanied by NASA flight engineer Mark Vande Hei.

The spacewalk formally began when the duo switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:56 am (1156 GMT), then floated out into the vacuum of space, NASA said.

On their spacewalk Thursday, the pair replaced the latching end of the 57-foot-long (18-meter) Canadian-made arm, called Canadarm2.

The robotic arm was installed at the orbiting outpost 16 years ago, and recently stopped gripping effectively.

Astronauts need it in working order so it can capture incoming cargo ships that ferry supplies to the crew living in orbit. The next US shipment arrives in November.

Tuesday’s spacewalk, and another one on October 18, are devoted “to lubricating the newly replaced Canadarm2 end effector and replacing cameras on the left side of the station’s truss and the right side of the station’s US Destiny laboratory,” NASA said.

The spacewalk is scheduled to last six and a half hours.

© 2017 AFP

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