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Ground Ops, Robotics Work While Crew Maintains Station

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Mar 8, 2012 9:45 am via: NASA
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Flight controllers from two International Space Station partners and one commercial partner checked out gear to be used when the Cygnus cargo craft arrives later this year. The NASA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Orbital Sciences mission control centers checked out the proximity operations system which is located inside the Kibo laboratory module.

Controllers from Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland worked with Houston flight controllers as they began work with the station’s Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre robot, and the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) payload. The purpose is to demonstrate the ability of robotics to perform the complex work of refueling a satellite which includes opening and closing safety caps and valves, cutting through wires, removing insulation and transferring fuel. RRM was delivered aboard space shuttle Atlantis during STS-135 last year.

Meanwhile, onboard the station, Commander Dan Burbank worked to put the Water Processing Assembly (WPA) back in operation. A leak discovered inside a catalytic converter shut down the WPA. The repair work is expected to take several days.

Flight Engineer Don Pettit assisted Burbank with the orbital plumbing work inside the WPA, specifically replacing the catalytic reactor. Pettit also continued work with the ongoing VO2Max experiment that observes a crew member’s aerobic capacity, or the ability to perform strenuous tasks in space such as spacewalks.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers checked out fire extinguishers and safety masks documenting their conditions, locations and serial numbers. He also transferred water to WPA tanks from a contingency water container through a microbial filter while checking for bubbles that could clog the filter.

Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov teamed up to film activities in the Russian segment of the space station. The video chronicling life on orbit will be shown to audiences in Russia.

Kononenko stowed gear to be disposed of inside the docked Progress 46 cargo craft. He also replaced panels inside the Poisk module. Skhaplerov replaced light fixtures in the station’s Russian segment. He also checked on the ongoing Uragan and Sonocard experiments. Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin conducted maintenance on the Elektron oxygen generator. He also worked with the Matryeshka experiment which observes radiation inside and outside the space station.

Meanwhile, work is on schedule at the Arianespace launch site in Kourou, French Guiana for the rescheduled launch of the “Edoardo Amadli” ATV-3 cargo ship atop an Ariane 5 rocket. Set to deliver more than 7 tons of supplies to the station, the ATV-3 is now planned to launch at 12:34 a.m. EDT on March 23, with a docking scheduled to the aft port of the Zvezda service module on March 28 at 6:34 p.m.

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