Two astronauts will head outside the International Space Station (ISS) for a spacewalk today (Feb. 16), and you can watch their entire excursion live online.
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai will emerge from the Quest airlock at 7:10 a.m. EST (1210 GMT) and will spend about 6.5 hours working outside the station. You can watch live coverage of the spacewalk here on Space.com beginning at 5:30 a.m. EST (1030 GMT), courtesy of NASA TV.
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. Both of Canadarm2's aging LEEs were replaced during two spacewalks, on Oct. 5 and Jan. 23. [In Photos: The Space Station Spacewalks of Expedition 54]
One of the units, LEE-A, will be brought inside the Quest airlock, where it will eventually return to Earth inside a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft "to be refurbished and relaunched to the orbiting laboratory as a spare," NASA officials said in a statement.
The other unit, LEE-B, will stay at the ISS in a long-term storage location. "That LEE will be available as a spare part on the Mobile Base System, which is used to move the arm and astronauts along the station's truss structure," NASA officials said.
Today's spacewalk was originally planned for Jan. 29, but NASA postponed it twice. First, ground controllers needed time to repair a software glitch on the newly replaced LEE. They rescheduled the spacewalk for Thursday (Feb. 15), but a two-day delay in the launch of a Russian cargo resupply mission this week delayed the spacewalk by one more day. The Progress 69 cargo ship arrived at the station Thursday morning.