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Station Crew Powers Up Robonaut For Another Run

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:01 am via: NASA
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Another system checkout of the Robonaut 2 humanoid robot and spacesuit maintenance capped the six-person Expedition 30 crew’s Tuesday aboard the International Space Station.

After the crew awoke at 1 a.m. EDT, ate breakfast and tagged up with flight control teams around the world to preview the day’s activities, Flight Engineer Don Pettit went to work installing a heat sink in the forearm of Robonaut 2. Once the humanoid robot was powered up, teams on the ground commanded Robonaut through a series of dexterity tests as it spelled out “Hello world” in sign language.

Meanwhile, Commander Dan Burbank spent most of his day performing maintenance on the U.S. Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuits. Burbank performed a water dump and scrubbed the cooling loops to ensure that the spacesuits are ready to go if the crew is called upon to perform a spacewalk outside the station.

Burbank and Pettit took a brief break from their duties to talk to reporters from Fox News Network and provided an update about the work going on aboard station and the progress of Robonaut.

The astronauts also had several opportunities to observe and photograph the Earth below as they orbit the world every 90 minutes. Among the possible targets relayed up to the crew Tuesday were a wide variety of world capitals, including Monaco, Lisbon in Portugal and Kiev in Ukraine.

Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers began some maintenance work on the Urine Monitoring System before moving on to the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment, which measures the atrophy of the heart muscle that appears to develop during long-duration spaceflight. Investigators use the data from these tests to develop countermeasures to keep the crew healthy. The research may also have benefits for people on Earth with heart problems.

Anatoly Ivanishin and Oleg Kononenko, both flight engineers, inspected structural element surfaces throughout the Russian segment of the station. Later, Ivanishin assisted Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov with the Bar experiment, which looks at methods and instruments for detecting the location of a loss of pressure aboard the station.

Shkaplerov also worked with Rusalka, a Russian experiment that remotely measures methane and carbon dioxide content in the Earth’s atmosphere.

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