Astronauts take a spacewalk to lubricate robotic arm


They'll continue working on the Latching End Effector (LEE), a "hand" at the end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm, which they replaced last week, and install some new high-definition cameras outside the space station.

Tuesday's spacewalk was the fourth for Bresnik's career and the second for Vande Hei. During next spacewalk on October 18, astronauts will replace another old camera nicknamed "Old Yeller" that is tinting images yellow. Meanwhile, a Russian cargo ship stands at its launch pad ready to blast off Thursday morning on a short delivery trip to the International Space Station.

Using a type of grease gun known as the ballscrew lubrication tool, or BLT, Vande Hei will then squirt grease into the new LEE that he and Bresnik swapped out during their previous spacewalk.

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The second of the trio spacewalk series went off smoothly and came to an end after 6 hours and 26 minutes. Vande Hei carried out the fast greasing process, but still, some part is left which will be greased in the 3rd spacewalk scheduled to take place next week. They're used to grab arriving USA cargo ships and also allow the robot arm to move around the orbiting lab.

After lubricating the robotic arm, the two USA astronauts replaced the camera present on the station's truss. The duo will also perform some electrical maintenance work and replace another degraded video camera. NASA spokesman Rob Navias described the camera equipment as offering "new eyes" to the orbiting outpost. The job is expected to spill into next week, in a third spacewalk.

A third spacewalk in the series is scheduled October 18 by Bresnik and station flight engineer Joe Acaba.