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Robotics, Science and Maintenance for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:28 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 32 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station participated in robotics operations, science experiments and maintenance activities Thursday.

Flight Engineers Aki Hoshide and Joe Acaba used the Kibo module’s robotic arm to transfer the Multi-mission Consolidated Equipment payload from the H-II Transfer Vehicle-3 (HTV-3) External Pallet to the Exposed Facility on the exterior of the Japanese Experiment Module. The External Pallet carries a variety of scientific payloads that are designed to stay on the exterior of the station, such as the Space Communications and Navigation Testbed.

Acaba was later joined by Flight Engineer Suni Williams to review robotics procedures in advance of the External Pallet’s re-insertion into HTV-3, which is scheduled for Friday.

HTV-3 was grappled and berthed to the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node on July 27. The vehicle will remain at the station until September 6 when, like its predecessors, it will be detached from the Harmony node by Canadarm2 and released for a fiery re-entry over the Pacific Ocean.

Williams worked with the Burning and Suppression of Solids (BASS) experiment, which examines the burning and extinction characteristics of a wide variety of fuel samples in microgravity. The BASS experiment will help to develop procedures and methods for extinguishing accidental fires in microgravity, and it will contribute to the design of fire detection and suppression systems in microgravity and on Earth.

Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergei Revin worked in the Russian segment of the station monitoring its systems and performing a variety of maintenance duties. They also participated in a Russian medical test called SPRUT-2, which investigates the distribution and behavior of human body fluids in zero gravity.

Later, Hoshide had some time set aside to speak with the Young Astronauts Club in Tokyo during an in-flight interview in the Kibo module.

Thursday also marked a special day for honorary crew member Smokey Bear, who celebrated his 68th birthday with a special visit to the International Space Station Flight Control Room at Johnson Space Center in Houston. On May 14, Smokey went where no bear had gone before when Acaba and the Expedition 31 crew chose a plush Smokey doll to be the team’s launch mascot.

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