Monday Spacewalk Postponed as CSA Finds Software Solution to Canadarm2 LEE Communication Problem

Canadarm2 Latching End Effector as seen on the October 10th, 2017 spacewalk. Credit: NASA.

A spacewalk which was scheduled for early tomorrow morning has been postponed after the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) said in a post on Facebook that it had found a solution to the problem.

The communication problem first experienced when astronauts replaced an ageing Latching End Effector (LEE) on the Canadarm2 last Tuesday seemed solved after it was installed a second time. That apparently was not the case, and mission managers on Friday decided to remove the newly installed Latching End Effector (LEE) and replace it with the one it just replaced.

However, early Sunday morning the decision was made to postpone the spacewalk.

According the CSA “the decision was made after the Canadian Space Agency and its robotics specialist team wrote and tested a diagnostics software patch that confirmed that an anomaly noted in the end effector installed during last Tuesday’s spacewalk can be corrected through new software, also developed by Canadian engineers. Solutions will be implemented and so there is no longer a need for a spacewalk at this time.”

Engineers worked overtime to get this solution.

Apparently there was nothing wrong physically with the new LEE, it only needed a software upgrade.

The postponed spacewalk still needs to be completed. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will perform the second spacewalk of the year, and second needed to wrap up work related to the installation of the new LEE as soon as mission managers set a date.

That work will include stowing the removed LEE to the station’s mobile base system rail car for future use and other tasks.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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