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Robonaut Comes to Life

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:59 am via: NASA
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Almost six months after being delivered to the International Space Station on the STS-133 mission of space shuttle Discovery, Robonaut 2 was “brought to life” Monday. Expedition 28 Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa and Mike Fossum assembled Robonaut and powered it up for the first time. Though the robot did not move, a “zero-g ground commanded soak” test of its electronics was performed, focusing on thermal response of the sensors for its joints.

Robonaut is the first humanoid robot in space, and although its primary job for now is teaching engineers how dexterous robots behave in space, the hope is that through upgrades and advancements, it could one day venture outside the station to help spacewalkers make repairs or additions to the station or perform scientific work.

Flight Engineer Sergei Volkov closed the hatch between the Zvezda service module and the ISS Progress 43 cargo craft and tested the hatch for leaks. Progress 43 is scheduled to undock at 5:38 a.m. EDT Tuesday, clearing the way for Progress 44. Once undocked, Progress 43 will be placed into a parking orbit for engineering tests before it is deorbited for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean on September 1.

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Progress 44 resupply vehicle was transported via rail car to its launch pad for final preparations for launch Wednesday at 9 a.m. (7 p.m. Baikonur time). Progress 44 will carry 2,050 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and 2,777 pounds of spare parts and experiment hardware (for a total of 5,863 pounds or 2.9 tons) to the orbital complex. Docking Friday is scheduled at 10:38 a.m.

Flight Engineer Ron Garan did more work with the Preliminary Advanced Colloids Experiment. The series of observations, known as PACE, studies the behavior of particles suspended in fluid in the space environment.

Station commander Andrey Borisenko spent some time with the Russian Plants-2 experiment. Plants-2 researches the growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in a special greenhouse facility.

Alexander Samokutyaev, also a flight engineer, took photographs of Earth as part of the Russian Uragan Earth-imaging program, which is a ground- and space-based system for predicting natural and manmade disasters.

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