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ISS Update: Interviews (June 18-22, 2012)
Interviews: International Space Station Update

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ISS Update: Robotic Refueling Mission - 06.21.12
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NASA Public Affairs Officer Dan Huot talked by phone on Thursday with Jill McGuire, project manager at Goddard Space Flight Center for the Robotic Refueling Mission, a demonstration of the tools, technologies and techniques needed to robotically repair and refuel satellites on orbit.

During the second of three days of RRM operations aboard the International Space Station, NASA and Canadian Space Agency ground teams completed all scheduled satellite-servicing tasks using the NASA RRM module and the Canadian Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) robot. Remotely controlled from the ground by mission operators at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, SPDM used the RRM Multifunction Tool (MFT) and its connected Ambient Cap Adapter to remove and stow an ambient cap on the RRM module. RRM and Dextre are in position to manipulate a plug located under the ambient cap and begin preparations for the late summer 2012 refueling demonstration.

The research being accomplished with RRM will pave the way for future robotic satellite servicing and repair missions, which in turn helps NASA reach its goal of sending astronauts farther into space than ever before. As McGuire pointed out, “You can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time by having the robots and the humans working together. “

ISS Update: Dr. Steve Squyres, NEEMO 16 Aquanaut and Cornell Professor – 06.19.2012
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ISS Update Commentator Pat Ryan interviews Dr. Steve Squyres, NEEMO 16 aquanaut and Cornell professor, about an underwater simulation of a mission to an asteroid. The Aquarius habitat simulates the isolation and limited space of a craft that would visit an asteroid. The crew is also simulating various communication delays it would experience with Mission Control as it got farther from Earth.

The Aquarius is about the size of a school bus housing six crew members for two weeks. A crew actually visiting an asteroid may be living and working aboard a craft smaller than the Aquarius for a much longer period of time.

The communication delay as a result of the long distance from Earth will require different procedures and limited interactions with Mission Control. The NEEMO 16 crew members have been using texts to alert Mission Control about upcoming messages.

During simulated spacewalks, the interaction with Mission Control will be very limited and the crew will have to act more independently and communicate amongst themselves.

The NEEMO crew has been testing techniques for working in the microgravity environment of an asteroid. One technique would be placing anchor points with translation lines and attaching tethers allowing a crew member to move hand-over-hand across the asteroid. Small one-person submarines are also being used to simulate small spacecraft that position and hold themselves at an asteroid worksite for further exploration.