On Saturday, January 27, 2018, NASA postponed a spacewalk, planned for Monday, January 29, 2018, by two astronauts at the International Space Station. NASA astronaut, Mark Vande Hei and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency were scheduled to replace a latching end effector, which works as the grappling end of the ISS robotic arm.
The LEE, which needed repair, had been installed during a spacewalk on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 by Vande Hei and a second NASA astronaut, Scott Tingle. However, the LEE did not respond on its main communications channel upon powering up. It did respond on its backup channel.
NASA had planned to replace the new LEE with the older one, which had been removed on Tuesday. But, Canadian Space Agency engineers, which have provided the ISS robotic arm system, came up with a software patch to fix the LEE communications problem.
Thanks to the Canadians, Vande Hei and Kanai will not have to replace the newly installed LEE on the robotic arm, after all. The original tasks that had been scheduled for the astronauts’ spacewalk will be performed in mid-February. Those tasks will include installing the LEE removed from the station’s arm Tuesday to a different location on the ISS Mobile Transporter, and bringing an even older LEE, removed from the station’s robotic arm last fall, inside the station.