News Brief: NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Scott Tingle spent nearly seven and a half hours on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station to install a new “hand” on the station’s robotic arm. The 440-pound hand, known as a latching end effector, is one of two appendages on either end of the Canadian-built arm. The other one was switched out last October. Vande Hei and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai will do another spacewalk to stow away the station’s spare robotic hand for future use. NASA TV’s live coverage of today’s outing started late, due to the time needed to recover from this week’s government shutdown.
Update for 5:50 p.m. PT Jan. 28: The follow-up spacewalk will be delayed until mid-February, due to a software glitch that had to be addressed to get the newly installed hand working properly.