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Robonaut Makes First Handshake; Spacewalkers Reviewing Timeline

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:07 am via: NASA
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Commander Dan Burbank worked with Robonaut checking its joints and ensuring the humanoid robot can perform commands. Burbank coordinated with the Payload Operations Center in Huntsville, Ala., to perform the first “man-machine” handshake in space with Robonaut. The checkout also seeks to determine if Robonaut’s fingers are dexterous enough to perform sign language.

Designers envision Robonaut allowing the crew members to spend more time conducting important science activities, while it would perform routine maintenance tasks.

Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Oleg Kononenko have completed their spacesuit checks and are reviewing the timeline for Thursday’s spacewalk. They will exit the Pirs docking compartment at 9:15 a.m. EST and work outside the station’s Russian segment for about six hours. NASA TV coverage begins at 8:45 a.m.

The two cosmonauts will focus on moving a Strela crane from Pirs to the Poisk module and attaching debris shields to the Zvezda service module. If time permits the spacewalkers will install experiments and Pirs ladder support struts.

Flight Engineer Don Pettit has been conducting life science work as he studies the effects of microgravity on long-term crew members. Numerous experiments and facilities are available on the space station allowing crew members and scientists to observe the adaptation of the human body in space. Pettit also spent some time increasing his proficiency as the Crew Medical Officer.

European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers was back inside the Permanent Multipurpose Module cleaning up the endcone and inventorying cargo. Kuipers also worked with the Neurospat experiment hardware testing his visual and spatial cognition.

While his fellow cosmonauts concentrated on Thursday’s spacewalk, Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin conducted standard maintenance in the Russian segment. He checked out sensors and performed a coolant leak check.

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