Canadian astronaut prepares for spacewalk

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques is getting set for his first spacewalk next Monday outside the International Space Station.

He will work with NASA colleague Anne McClain.

The purpose of the roughly seven-hour walk is to connect jumper cables that will give an alternative power source for the 17-metre Canadarm2, according to the Canadian Space Agency.

Canadarm2 is a sort of robotic hand that is crucial to maintaining the space station.

The agency says the two astronauts will also ``upgrade the ISS's wireless communications system'' and install other equipment used for experiments.

In a briefing yesterday, NASA said another task has been added to the spacewalk -- removing a defective piece so a mechanical arm can later install a nickel-hydrogen battery.

In case of a power outage on the space station, the cables to be installed by Saint-Jacques and McClain will allow the Canadarm2 to make repairs to the station without the need for a spacewalk.