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Robonaut Tests, Science and Maintenance for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Sep 2, 2011 8:01 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 28 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station were busy with a series of robotic checkouts Thursday as they continued their daily regimen of science experiments and maintenance work.

Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa and Mike Fossum assembled Robonaut 2 and powered it up to test sensors in the humanoid robot’s arms. Robonaut 2 was “brought to life” last week after being delivered to the station on the STS-133 mission of space shuttle Discovery earlier this year.

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.

Commander Andrey Borisenko participated in variety of science experiments including a Russian medical test called SPRUT-2, which investigates the distribution and behavior of human body fluids in zero gravity. He also spent some time participating in the INTERACTION experiment. Results may be used to improve the ability of future crew members to interact safely and effectively with each other and ground support personnel. The results also may be used to improve methods for crew selection, training and in-flight support.

Furukawa assembled a special LEGO set as part of an educational program that demonstrates the challenges faced when building things in the microgravity environment of space.

Flight Engineer Ron Garan collected biological samples, placing them in the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS in the Destiny laboratory.

Working in the Russian segment of the station, Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev performed a variety of maintenance duties and completed an audit of Sanitary-Hygiene System Devices.

Furukawa, Garan and Fossum also talked to South Dakota Public Broadcasting during an in-flight interview, answering questions about the future of the space program, the loss of the ISS Progress 44 resupply craft last week and commercial launches to the station.

Another unmanned cargo craft, the ISS Progress 43, that arrived at the station in late June was deorbited Thursday by Russian ground command, nine days after undocking from the aft port of the Zvezda service module. It had been placed into a parking orbit well away from the station for engineering tests before being sent into its destructive entry in the Pacific Ocean at 5:43 a.m. EDT.

Tropical Storm Katia is being monitored from the station. The orbiting crew members and ground controllers targeted station cameras on the far eastern Atlantic this week where Katia was gaining strength.

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