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Station Crew Works on Robonaut 2 Testing, Cargo, Science

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue May 1, 2012 7:25 am via: NASA
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Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit tested the vision of the first humanoid robot in space – Robonaut 2 – in the International Space Station’s U.S. Destiny laboratory on Monday. He set up a task for the robot while controllers on the ground looked through its eyes to test its visual systems and the dexterity of its hands.

Commander Oleg Kononenko spent a great deal of time unloading cargo from the ISS Progress 47 cargo craft that is currently docked to the station. He also updated the complex’s inventory.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers spent time unloading cargo as well. His attention, however, was centered on the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-3, known as “Edoardo Amaldi.”

Kuipers also worked with the Integrated Cardiovascular (ICV) experiment. ICV researches the extent of cardiac atrophy during and after long duration spaceflight and seeks to identify its mechanisms.

In the Columbus laboratory, Pettit replaced an incubator in the Biological Experiment Laboratory, or BioLab, which is used to perform experiments on microorganisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants and small invertebrates. BioLab helps scientists to gain a better understanding of the effects of microgravity and space radiation on organisms.

The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft carrying Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin landed in Kazakhstan Friday at 7:45 a.m. EDT. They undocked from the station at 4:18 a.m. officially ending their stay.

Expedition 31 began when Burbank, Shkaplerov and Ivanishin undocked from the station. Kononenko, Pettit and Kuipers will continue their stay aboard the orbital laboratory until July 1. Scheduled to join them in mid-May are Flight Engineers Gennady Padalka, Joe Acaba and Sergei Revin, who will launch and arrive in the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft.

At the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket underwent a hot-fire test that sets the stage for its launch in one week. The rocket is slated to carry the Dragon spacecraft into orbit for its trek to become the first commercial cargo ship to arrive at the International Space Station.

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