Published: Sun, February 18, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Astronauts Taking a Spacewalk at the Space Station Today

Astronauts Taking a Spacewalk at the Space Station Today

Together with American astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Kanai removed two hand-like contraptions called Latching End Effectors (LEE), which are attached to the ends of robotic arms connected to the ISS for the objective of grabbing objects.

Two astronauts traveled outside the International Space Station (ISS) today at 7:10 a.m. EST (12:10 GMT) and spent 6.5 hours outside the station working.

Vande Hei replied that "It was great to be a small part of a team in space representing a whole space team on the ground".

His US colleague remained outside the space station for several minutes to finish some other tasks, but a NASA commentator said both astronauts "have completed all of their primary tasks", ahead of schedule.

The view while taking the spacewalk was particularly spectacular, with the astronauts doing the robot arm fix work as the sun rose over Peru, around 250 miles below.

The Tokyo-born lieutenant in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force became an astronaut in 2009.

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Kanai is the fourth Japanese astronaut to walk in space.

The spacewalkers will relocate two degraded latching end effectors (LEEs), or the "hands" at each end of a 58-foot (18 meters) robotic arm known as Canadarm2.

It is not easy for astronauts to move their arms or grab things in a spacesuit. Two spacewalkers will move a Latching End Effector (LEE) from its attachment on the station's Mobile Base System rail auto to the Quest airlock.

This LEE was replaced during an Expedition 53 spacewalk in October 2017, and will be returned to Earth to be refurbished and relaunched to the orbiting laboratory as a spare.

That device will be kept at the station as a spare.

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