Spacewalking astronauts grease robot arm's new hand

In this frame from NASA TV, Astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Randy Bresnik, right, emerge from the International Space Station on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. The astronauts went out on a spacewalk to grease the robot arm's new hand. (NASA TV via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Spacewalking astronauts hustled through a lube job and camera swaps outside the International Space Station on Tuesday, their second trip outside in less than a week.

Astronaut Mark Vande Hei made fast work of greasing the big robot arm's new hand.

Vande Hei and station commander Randy Bresnik replaced the latching mechanism on one end of the 58-foot robot arm last Thursday. The mechanism malfunctioned in August.

Tuesday's work involved using a grease gun, which resembles a caulking gun, to keep the latching mechanism working smoothly. Vande Hei got a jump ahead in some greasing chores, but the two-part job still will spill into next week, in a third and final spacewalk.

"Why don't we wash, rinse, repeat. Do it again in a week," Bresnik said as the 6 ½-hour spacewalk came to a close.

These latches, or hands, are located on each end of the Canadian-built robot arm. They're used to grab arriving U.S. cargo ships and also allow the robot arm to move around the orbiting lab.

Launched in 2001 with the rest of the robot arm, the original latches were showing their age. NASA plans to replace the latching mechanism on the opposite end of the arm early next year.

Vande Hei and Bresnik also replaced several camera assemblies at the 250-mile-high outpost.

"What do you do for an encore?" Bresnik asked Vande Hei, after two successful spacewalks.

"I finish six months on the space station," Vande Hei replied. He arrived a month ago.

Vande Hei will sit out the next spacewalk on Oct. 18. Instead, Bresnik will be accompanied by Joe Acaba, a teacher-turned-astronaut.

Six men live at the orbiting lab: three Americans, two Russians and one Italian. As the space station approached Italy early in the spacewalk, Mission Control urged Bresnik and Vande Hei to take some photos for their crewmate, Paolo Nespoli.

You may also interested in

US sues Oracle, says it pays white men more than others

Jan 18, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against Oracle, claiming that the technology giant has a "systemic practice" of paying white male workers more than their non-white and female counterparts with the same job titles

All NFL games will air online, but watching won't be easy

Sep 7, 2017

Every NFL football game will stream live online this season - but that doesn't mean you'll be able to watch them.

Roaming telescope brings Kenyan kids views of night sky

Feb 19, 2017

The Traveling Telescope project visits some of Kenya's most remote areas, showing students the night sky and the science of astronomy with telescopes and virtual reality goggles

People also read these

US sues Oracle, says it pays white men more than others

Jan 18, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against Oracle, claiming that the technology giant has a "systemic practice" of paying white male workers more than their non-white and female counterparts with the same job titles

All NFL games will air online, but watching won't be easy

Sep 7, 2017

Every NFL football game will stream live online this season - but that doesn't mean you'll be able to watch them.

Roaming telescope brings Kenyan kids views of night sky

Feb 19, 2017

The Traveling Telescope project visits some of Kenya's most remote areas, showing students the night sky and the science of astronomy with telescopes and virtual reality goggles

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH