Two NASA astronauts will begin their first spacewalk, of the scheduled three, to repair the International Space Station (ISS) on October 5. The astronauts onboard the mission are Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Mark Van Hei. While this will be the first-ever spacewalk of the latter, it will mark the third one of Bresnik.
Astronauts conduct these spacewalks for the purpose of assembling and maintaining the ISS. A total of three such spacewalks have been scheduled for the month of October, of which the first will commence on Thursday, informed NASA. Bresnik will take the lead in all three of these expeditions.
As per the space agency, Bresnik and Vande Hei will walk up to the ISS in order to replace one of the two Latching End Effectors (LEE) on the station's robotic arm Canadarm2. Just about in September, one of the Canadarm2's grappling mechanisms witnessed a pause in its motorized latches. However, thankfully, the problem didn't affect the planned station operations adversely.
A spare LEE is stored outside on the ISS' truss. The two identical LEEs of Canadarm2 are used to grapple incoming cargo vehicles and payloads and to provide data and telemetry to the rest of the Canadian-built Mobile Base System. It also gives the unique capability to "walk" from one location on the station's truss to another, as per NASA.
The live coverage of the spacewalk will be broadcasted on NASA TV at 6:30 am EDT (6:30 pm SST) and you can watch it live here.
All the three spacewalks of October are slated to begin at 8:05 am EDT (8:05 pm SST) but they may begin early if the crew runs ahead of the schedule.