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Robonaut 2 Tests and Maintenance for Station Crew
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Ground teams remotely command Robonaut 2 to touch a task board during a round of testing in the International Space Station's Destiny laboratory. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 34 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station were busy with Robonaut 2 tests and maintenance work Friday, while flight controllers wrapped-up a week of ground-commanded robotics work on the exterior of the orbiting complex.

Commander Kevin Ford powered up the first humanoid robot in space, Robonaut 2, so that ground controllers could run it through a series of tests and configuration checks after a recent software upgrade. After the tests were completed, Ford was joined by Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield to help disassemble and stow Robonaut.

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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 continued his maintenance work in the Destiny laboratory, making some upgrades to automated payload switches for various racks and experiments.

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 conducted ocean photography for the Russian Seiner experiment, which examines Earth’s oceans to determine the current position and coordinates of bioproductive areas that impact the fishing industry.

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Expedition 34 Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko works with the Coulomb Crystal experiment in the Poisk Mini-Research Module 2. Credit: NASA

Ground controllers wrapped-up several days of ground-commanded hardware transfers on the exterior of the orbiting complex using Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s twin-armed robotic “handyman,” and Canadarm2, the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm.

Over the weekend, the station residents will continue ongoing scientific research and perform their regular maintenance duties. They also will enjoy some off-duty time and have an opportunity to speak with family members.

Meanwhile at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, work continues to prepare the next Russian cargo craft, Progress 50, for a launch to the station. In advance of the launch, 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 reentry over the Pacific Ocean.

That will clear the Pirs docking compartment for the accelerated, single-day launch to docking of 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.

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