Crew Works with Robonaut, Performs Maintenance and Experiments
The Expedition 34 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station were busy with robotics, maintenance and science Thursday, while flight controllers continued ground-commanded robotics work on the exterior of the orbiting complex.
Commander Kevin Ford and Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield assembled and powered up the first humanoid robot in space, Robonaut2, so ground controllers could run it through a series of tests and configuration checks.
› Read more about Robonaut 2
Ford and Hadfield also set up Ultrasonic Background Noise Apparatus test kits in the Destiny laboratory for data collection and testing.
Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn worked in the Destiny laboratory making some upgrades to automated payload switches for various racks and experiments. He also removed and replaced the manifold bottle on the Combustion Integrated Rack, which allows a variety of combustion experiments to be performed safely aboard the station.
› Read more about the Combustion Integrated Rack
Flight Engineers Evgeny Tarelkin, Oleg Novitskiy and Roman Romanenko performed various inspections and maintenance duties in the Russian segment of the station, tagging-up with flight control teams in Russia as needed. Romanenko also continued his work with the Kulonovskiy Kristall experiment, which studies plasma dust structures in the microgravity environment aboard the orbiting laboratory.
Ground controllers stowed Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s twin-armed robotic “handyman,” on the Mobile Base System on the exterior of the orbiting complex after several days of ground-commanded hardware transfers from External Stowage Platform-2 to External Logistics Carrier-2.
Meanwhile at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, work continues to prepare the next Russian cargo craft, ISS Progress 50, for a launch to the station. In advance of the launch, ISS Progress 48, which arrived at the station in August, will undock from the Pirs docking compartment on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 8:15 a.m. EST and will be deorbited three hours later to plunge into the Earth’s atmosphere for a destructive demise in the Pacific Ocean.
That will clear the Pirs docking compartment for the accelerated, single-day launch to docking of ISS Progress 50. Launch is scheduled on Feb. 11 at 9:41 a.m. with docking scheduled four orbits later at 3:40 p.m. The new Progress will be carrying 1,764 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen and air, 926 pounds of water and 3,000 pounds of spare parts, experiment hardware and logistics equipment for the station crew.
› Read more about Expedition 34