Astronauts Breeze Through Spacewalk at the International Space Station

 In Science

Two NASA astronauts ventured outside the International Space Station today (Oct. 10) to tackle the second in a series of three spacewalks taking place at the orbiting laboratory this month.

Expedition 53 Cmdr. Randy Bresnik and flight engineer Mark Vande Hei spent 6 hours and 26 minutes working on a number of maintenance tasks, including the lubrication of a new latching end effector (LEE) — the “hand” on the Canadarm2 robotic arm — which the two spacewalkers replaced during their last extravehicular activity (EVA) on Oct. 5.

After working together on a single task for the entirety of last week’s spacewalk, the two astronauts spent much of their day flying solo while tackling a multitude of chores around the station. While lubricating the new LEE was a main objective, they also replaced and repaired external cameras and did some routine maintenance on the station’s thermal control system. The astronauts breezed through their main tasks and accomplished some optional “get-ahead” tasks before wrapping up their work for the day. [Space Station Photos: Expedition 53 Mission Crew in Orbit]

This photo of NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik was taken by a new external camera that he and his crewmate Mark Vande Hei installed during a spacewalk on Oct. 10.
This photo of NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik was taken by a new external camera that he and his crewmate Mark Vande Hei installed during a spacewalk on Oct. 10.

Credit: NASA TV

Today’s EVA officially began when the two spacewalkers switched their spacesuits over to battery power at 7:56 a.m. EDT (1156 GMT), after which they emerged from the Quest airlock and split up to conquer separate tasks. 

Vande Hei started off by heading up to the station’s truss to the Mobile Transporter cart, where he retrieved a foot restraint and installed it on the Canadarm2 robotic arm. To do that, he first had to install a special socket onto the newly replaced LEE.

“I have a little bit of adrenaline going on right now. This view is amazing!” Vande Hei said as the space station passed over Rio de Janeiro. [Gallery: Amazing Photos of Earth from Space]

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei works on the latching end effector, or the
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei works on the latching end effector, or the “hand” at the end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Credit: NASA TV

Bresnik kicked off his EVA by heading over to the high-pressure tanks just outside the airlock, where he reconfigured a handle that was “ever so slightly out of the locked configuration,” NASA TV commentator Rob Navias said during a live webcast of the spacewalk. Four high-pressure tanks filled with nitrogen and oxygen are used to depressurize and repressurize the airlock before and after spacewalks, Navias said.

With the latch on the high-pressure tank back in place, Bresnik made his way over to the port side of the International Space Station (ISS) to work on a spare Pump Flow Control Subassembly (PFCS) outside the Destiny module. Vande Hei met up with Bresnik at the PFCS to help him rotate the assembly into an orientation that will allow an ammonia pad to be vented during a later spacewalk, NASA’s EVA officer Glenda Brown explained in a briefing on Oct. 2.

The International Space Station is the largest structure in space ever built by humans. Let’s see how much you know about the basics of this science laboratory in the sky.

Sunlight glints off the International Space Station.

0 of 10 questions complete

Recent Posts
Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox
Join over 2.3 million subscribers. Get daily breaking news directly to your inbox as they happen.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Get Latest News in Facebook
Never miss another breaking news. Click on the "LIKE" button below now!