Canadarm2 will be getting a new “hand” during a spacewalk scheduled for October 5, 2017. After 16 years of tireless work on board the International Space Station (ISS), one of Canadarm2’s Latching End Effectors (LEEs) will be replaced as a result of normal wear and tear.
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and NASA have decided to replace the LEE to ensure that the robotic arm can continue performing critical operations for the Station, including maintenance tasks and catching supply ships.
Much like a car, Canadarm2 was designed for this kind of routine repair. It was built in segments that can easily be pulled out and replaced in space. Knowing that Canadarm2 would eventually have to be repaired, the CSA planned shipments of key spares to the ISS well in advance. A spare LEE has been on board the ISS since 2002.
During the spacewalk, the LEE on Canadarm2 will be swapped with the LEE that is currently on the Mobile Base System. It will later be returned to Earth for refurbishing.
Live coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 6:30 a.m. (EDT) on NASA TV