Two Astronauts are set to spacewalk for 6.5 hours on Friday. It is Norishige Kanai of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mark Vande Hei of NASA who are currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS) orbiting the Earth at the altitude of 408 km. The six and half hour spacewalk has been planned to move the arms of Canadarm2 to the long-term storage unit of the ISS. The spacewalk was originally planned on February 15th, however, NASA decided to reschedule it citing the docking of Russian Progress 69 cargo due on Thursday 5.43 a.m. EST.
The Spacewalk –
According to News Nation, it is the 3rd spacewalk expedition in 2018 and 208th spacewalk towards the assembly and maintenance of the space station since its assembly. Mark Vande Hei (NASA) and Norishige Kanai (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) are present aboard the ISS waiting for the expedition. During the spacewalk, they will have to move the hand or Latching End Effector (LEE) of Canadarm2, a Canadian built robotic arm. The two astronauts will move the payload attachment from Mobile Base System Rail Car to Quest Airlock on the space station.
As a matter of fact, the LEE was replaced recently following certain issues during Expedition 53 in October 2017 which will be brought back to the Earth for repair and then, it will be sent back to the station as spare. Further, there is an additional and comparatively old LEE on the space system stored in the long-term storage. It was earlier in the temporary storage. Being in the long-term storages gives the astronauts and the ground team to arrange spare for LEE if it encounters any further complications.
According to NDTV, the 208th expedition spacewalk was scheduled for January 29th, however, NASA had to postpone it due to technical issues with the LEE. The Canadian Space Agency wrote the software updates for the new LEE after which, it resumed to work normally. This 6.5 hours long spacewalk will be first of its kind for Kanai while Mark Vande Hei will be walking in the space in a complete vacuum for the fourth time. Mark will wear a similar astronauts suit to Neil Armstrong during his expedition to the Moon.