Spacewalking astronauts replacing blurry camera on robot arm
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Astronauts went spacewalking Friday to provide some necessary focus to the International Space Station’s robot arm.
Watch the live spacewalk through NASA TV’s website.
The main job for commander Randy Bresnik and teacher-turned-astronaut Joe Acaba was to replace a blurry camera on the new robotic hand that was installed during a spacewalk two weeks ago. The two men were supposed to go spacewalking earlier this week, but NASA needed extra time to rustle up the repair plan.
Sharp focus is essential in order for the space station’s robot hand to capture an arriving supply ship. The next delivery is a few weeks away, prompting the quick camera swap-out.
Orbital ATK, one of NASA’s commercial shippers, plans to launch a cargo ship from Virginia on Nov. 11.
As they ventured out, Bresnik noted they were flying over Puerto Rico.
“Get out of here,” replied Acaba, the first astronaut of Puerto Rican heritage.
Acaba’s parents were born there, and he still has family on the hurricane-ravaged island.
“There’s a whole line of people looking up and smiling today as you get ready to head out the door,” Bresnik said.
This was the third spacewalk in two weeks for the space station’s U.S. residents. Bresnik performed the first two with Mark Vande Hei. Friday’s spacewalk should be the last one for the year.
Early next year, astronauts will replace the hand on the opposite side of the 58-foot robot arm, Canada’s main contribution to the space station. The original latching mechanisms are showing wear and tear since the arm’s launch in 2001.