The Canadian-built arm has now been in orbit for 16 years. Bresnik and Vande Hei will conduct the second spacewalk together. Vande Hei, EV-2, is wearing an unmarked suit and is using helmetcam 20.
The arm can also move like an inchworm across the space station by grabbing onto special fixtures. Two latching mechanisms at each end of the arm, called Latching End Effectors (LEE) have been deteriorating. Initially, NASA planned to fix the LEE which seemed most degraded, but the other one stopped working, which moved it to the top of the priority list.
Canadarm2 was launched in 2001, so it's starting to experience some wear and tear. Their spacewalk is the first of three planned for October that revolve around getting the Canadian robotic arm in good shape for doing work outside the ISS.
The latching mechanism on one end of the 58-foot robot arm malfunctioned in August.
In the near term, two more spacewalks are planned October 10 and 18 to lubricate the newly attached LEE-A fitting, to replace two cameras with degraded color and to carry out other routine maintenance. While this will be the first-ever spacewalk of the latter, it will mark the third one of Bresnik. It also gives the unique capability to "walk" from one location on the station's truss to another, as per NASA. Going into EVA-44, 126 astronauts and cosmonauts representing 10 nations had logged 1,258 hours and 15 minutes of station EVA time, or 52.4 days.
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