NASA astronauts start spacewalk

Two NASA astronauts will begin their first spacewalk, of the scheduled three, to fix the International Space Station (ISS) on October 5.

"Two NASA astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 8:05 a.m. EDT aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about 6.5 hours", NASA announced.

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

The duo astronauts will do a second space walk to lubricate the replaced LEE and replace a camera on the outside of the station.

Canadarm2 riding the Mobile Base System along the Mobile Transporter railway, running the length of the station's main truss. Joe Acaba arrived at the space station September 12 for his third mission to space.

The arm is integral to space station operations and can extend 60 feet off ISS, grabbing visiting cargo vehicles and payloads. While this will be the first-ever spacewalk of the latter, it will mark the third one of Bresnik.

The trio of spacewalks will be Bresnik's third, fourth and fifth, while Vande Hei will experience his first two spacewalks. In the early 2000s, Canadarm2 was used to help move and install large pieces of equipment.

The station has a spare LEE stored outside the ISS, which the astronauts retrieved to make the fix. As extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), Bresnik gets to wear the suit with red stripes on it, while Vande Hei (EV 2) will wear a plain white suit.

The astronauts then will remove an operational LEE now attached to the transporter itself and bolt it in place on the end of the arm, tightening the six bolts and re-attaching the insulation.

The next two spacewalks, on October 10 and October 18, will focus on lubricating the joints in the new LEE using a device called a ballscrew lubrication tool, or BLT.

  • Joey Payne