New Delhi: On Tuesday, January 23, two NASA astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS) - Expedition 54 Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei and Flight Engineer Scott Tingle – will step out into space to put things in order.
The astronauts will be working on the space station's robotic arm and will replace one of two redundant latching end effectors (LEE) on Canadarm2 (the station’s robotic arm), which has experienced some degradation of its snaring cables. A spare LEE will replace the current LEE B.
Spacewalks are events in support of the ISS assembly and maintenance, that science and space enthusiasts look forward to with the initiation of every consecutive expedition launch.
This will be the first spacewalk of 2018 with Vande Hei taking the lead. Live coverage on NASA TV will begin at 5:30 am EST, with the spacewalks beginning about 7:10 am or earlier, if the crew is running ahead of schedule.
The next spacewalk is scheduled for January 29 and will be devoted to securing the degraded LEE B on the station’s Mobile Base System rail car as a spare. Similar work was conducted on the robotic arm’s LEE A during a series of spacewalks last October. Flight Engineer Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will be accompanying Mark Vande Hei on the second spacewalk.
These excursions, US spacewalks 47 and 48, will be the third and fourth in Vande Hei’s career and the first for both Tingle and Kanai.