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NASA Briefing Thursday Will Preview Upcoming US Spacewalks

American and Japanese astronauts aboard the International Space Station will embark on a pair of spacewalks Jan. 23 and 29 to service the station’s robotic arm. Experts from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will preview this work in a briefing at 2 p.m. EST Thursday, Jan. 18, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Live coverage of the briefing and spacewalks will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Participants in the briefing are:

  • Kenneth Todd, NASA’s International Space Station Operations integration manager
  • Tim Braithwaite, CSA liaison office manager
  • Zeb Scoville, NASA spacewalk flight director
  • Sarah Korona, U.S. spacewalk 47 and 48 officer at NASA

Media wishing to participate in the briefing in person must request credentials from the Johnson newsroom no later than 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17. Media interested in participating by phone must contact the newsroom by 1:45 p.m. Jan. 18.

Expedition 54 Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei of NASA will lead both excursions, joined by Flight Engineer Scott Tingle for the spacewalk on Tuesday, Jan. 23, and by Flight Engineer Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Monday, Jan. 29. Live coverage will begin at 5:30 a.m., with the spacewalks beginning about 7:10 a.m. or earlier, if the crew is running ahead of schedule.

The objective of the Jan. 23 spacewalk will be to replace one of two redundant latching end effectors (LEE) on Canadarm2, the station’s robotic arm, which has experienced some degradation of its snaring cables. A spare LEE will replace the current LEE B. The Jan. 29 spacewalk will be devoted to securing the degraded LEE B on the station’s Mobile Base System rail car as a spare. Similar work was conducted on the robotic arm’s LEE A during a series of spacewalks last October.

These excursions, U.S. spacewalks 47 and 48, will be the third and fourth in Vande Hei’s career and the first for both Tingle and Kanai.


Stephanie Schierholz
Headquarters, Washington
Gary Jordan
Johnson Space Center, Houston