Oct. 5 (UPI) -- NASA TV is streaming the first of three October spacewalks on Thursday morning. Coverage began at 6:30 a.m. EDT, but the spacewalk didn't commence until 8:05 a.m.
"Two NASA astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 8:05 a.m. EDT aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about 6.5 hours," NASA announced.
The first of the three spacewalks is being carried out by Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei, both NASA astronauts.
Bresnik will lead all three of the scheduled spacewalks. The second spacewalk is scheduled for Oct. 10, and the third for Oct. 18.
Bresnik and Vande Hei are working to replace one of the two Latching End Effectors on Canadarm2, the space station's robotic arm. The effectors serve as a grappling mechanism, allowing the space stations arm to receive and manipulate visiting cargo vehicles and payloads. The effectors, or LEEs, also field and transmit telemetry data to the rest of the Mobile Base System, or MBS. Canadarm2 is anchored to the MBS and can be moved along the base's truss by the LEEs.
Last month, one of the effector's mechanical latches stalled. The malfunction hasn't impacted any operations, but it needs to be replaced. A spare LEE is located along the side of the station's truss.
On the second and third spacewalks, astronauts will lubricate the new effector and replace several cameras.
The trio of spacewalks will be Bresnik's third, fourth and fifth, while Vande Hei will experience his first two spacewalks.