Science

Spacewalk cancelled after Canadarm2 fixed with software patch

The Canadian Space Agency says it used a "creative software solution" to fix a replacement part on the Canadarm 2, postponing the need to send astronauts on a spacewalk.

Next spacewalk mission, originally scheduled for today, postponed to mid-February

Canada's robotic arm, the Canadarm2, which is part of the International Space Station's Remote Manipulator System, is pictured with the Earth in the background during a daytime orbital pass on April 16, 2017. (NASA)

The Canadian Space Agency says it used a "creative software solution" to fix a replacement part on the Canadarm 2, postponing the need to send astronauts on a spacewalk.

The agency says scientists detected an anomaly in one of the electronic systems that controls a new hand that was installed on the International Space Station's robotic arm last Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, Mark Vande Hei snapped his own portrait, better known as a “space-selfie,” during the first spacewalk of the year. NASA astronauts Vande Hei and crewmate Scott Tingle ventured outside the International Space Station to perform maintenance on the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm during a seven-hour and 24-minute spacewalk. (NASA)

The CSA says both systems needs to be functional for the robotic arm to be able to fully perform its tasks.

The agency says they planned to send NASA astronauts on a second spacewalk to reattach the old hand, which was functional despite showing signs of wear and tear.

But it says the CSA robotics specialist team determined that the anomaly could be corrected using new software, which was developed by Canadian engineers.

The agency says a spacewalk is no longer necessary.

Originally, NASA had planned a spacewalk on Monday where astronauts Mark Vande Hei of NASA and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) would:

  • Take Canadarm2 hand removed from the arm during a spacewalk last October inside the space station.
  • Install the Canadarm2 hand removed last Tuesday on the mobile base system rail car on the station's truss.

But after the new hand installed last week failed to communicate properly with the space station, the spacewalk was replanned to re-install the old hand instead.

The original plan for the spacewalk is expected to be executed in mid-February.

With files from CBC News

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