Headlines > News > Station Crew Works on Robotics, Spacewalk Preps

Station Crew Works on Robotics, Spacewalk Preps

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:57 am via: NASA
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Expedition 32 Flight Engineer Joe Acaba spent time in the International Space Station’s Destiny laboratory Monday setting up Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot in space. Currently, Robonaut’s primary job is teaching engineers how dexterous robots behave in space. It is planned to help with tasks aboard the station such as cleaning, and the hope is that through upgrades and advancements, it could one day venture outside the complex to help spacewalkers make repairs or additions to the station or perform scientific work.

Flight Engineers Aki Hoshide and Suni Williams prepared for their upcoming spacewalk by checking out the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) systems they will use during the excursion. Essentially a “life jacket” for spacewalks, SAFER is a self-contained maneuvering unit that is worn like a backpack. The system relies on small nitrogen-jet thrusters that can be used should an astronaut somehow drift away from the complex.

Williams and Hoshide will step out of the orbital complex Thursday morning for the 6.5-hour spacewalk. NASA TV coverage begins at 7 a.m. EDT.

Hoshide and Acaba worked on transferring cargo from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s H-II Transfer Vehicle-3 (HTV3), also known as Kounotori3, or “white stork.” Acaba and Hoshide used the station’s robotic arm to grapple and install the HTV3 to the station in July.

Williams worked with the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device, or SLAMMD, which measures the on-orbit mass of crew members. SLAMMD applies Newton’s Second Law of Motion (force is equal to mass times acceleration) using the known force generated by two springs against a crew member mounted on an extension arm. The resultant acceleration of the crew member is measured, and the mass then calculated.

Meanwhile on the Russian side of the station, Flight Engineer Sergei Revin had a session with PNEUMOCARD, an experiment that studies how the cardiovascular system responds to spaceflight conditions. The information recorded during PNEUMOCARD can be used to predict possible physical reactions of the crew members during their return to Earth. Revin also joined Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko in transferring cargo from the docked ISS Progress 48 cargo craft.

Commander Gennady Padalka did some maintenance work on the Elektron oxygen generation system.

Acaba and Williams spoke with students at Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library as part of the Destination Station series of events. The Destination Station exhibit is on display at The Museum of Science, Boston, through Sept. 3.

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