Watch live as NASA astronauts perform space walk


A Russian cargo craft is on its way to the International Space Station early Thursday as two astronauts get ready for a spacewalk on Friday.

The spacewalk was the first for Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Norishige Kanai and the fourth for his USA counterpart Mark Vande Hei.

The actual robot arm fix work, once the most recent spacewalk started, finished faster than intended, with Kanai and Vande Hei actually being able to accomplish some extra chores on the exterior of the station before the venture outside ended around the six-hour mark.

Vande Hei replied that "It was great to be a small part of a team in space representing a whole space team on the ground".

The astronauts were about 250 miles (404 kilometers) above Africa as the spacewalk neared its conclusion. Four other men now live at the space station.

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The outing began at 1200 GMT when the duo switched their spacesuits to battery power before venturing into space. The Tokyo-born lieutenant from the Maritime Self-Defense Force became an astronaut in 2009.

Kanai walked in space with the help of a cable tethered to the ISS exterior.

The spacewalkers will relocate two degraded latching end effectors (LEEs), or the "hands" at each end of a 58-foot (18 meters) robotic arm known as Canadarm2.

The robotic arm is used to move astronauts and heavy equipment around outside the research laboratory. Both of Canadarm2's aging LEEs were replaced during two spacewalks, on October 5 and January 23. Overall, this is the 208th spacewalk at the space observatory, located about 400 km above the Earth's surface.