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Old 03-09-2012, 08:05 PM   #1336
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Parabolic Arc: Dextre’s Log: Robotic Refueling Mission Day 1

Aviation Week: ISS Team Conducts Sat Refueling Demonstration
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:59 PM   #1337
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From ISS On-Orbit Status Report for 08/03/2012.

RRM Update:
Yesterday, the Robotic Refueling Mission began its ground-commanded demonstration of satellite servicing (refueling & repairing) capabilities using SSRMS with SPDM (Space Station Remote Manipulator System w/Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator) and GSFC (Goddard Space Flight Center)-provided tools and task boards. During yesterday’s activities, SPDM successfully unstowed and operated the SCT (Safety Cap Tool), the WCT (Wire Cutter Tool) and the MFT (Multi-Function Tool) for their functional checkout. The SPDM body was then maneuvered to position for wire cutting and launch lock release operations on the RRM top (port facing) panel. These initial tasks continue through Friday. RRM will perform several demonstration operations over the next couple of years. Remote satellite servicing is finally getting underway!

From ISS On-Orbit Status Report for 09/03/2012.

RRM Update:
The Robotic Refueling Mission will conclude its ground-commanded demonstration of satellite servicing (refueling & repairing) capabilities overnight, using SSRMS with SPDM (Space Station Remote Manipulator System w/Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator) and GSFC (Goddard Space Flight Center)-provided tools and task boards. During yesterday’s activities, SPDM successfully released all seven launch locks on the four MFT (Multifunction Tool) adapter receptacles, using the MFT’s hexagonal interface via commands from the OTCM (ORU Tool Changeout Mechanism). The next major step was to cut the lockwires on the Ambient Cap and T-Valve on the CVP (Coolant Valve Panel) with the WCT (Wire Cutter Tool). The WTC and MFTs are to be stowed tonight. RS thruster firings will be disabled for load reasons from 4:20 AM to 10:40 AM GMT tomorrow morning. RRM will perform several demonstration operations over the next couple of years.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:10 PM   #1338
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Another great article by Orbinaut Pete:

NASASpaceflight: Dextre and RRM complete record breaking week of robotics on ISS
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:29 PM   #1339
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From ISS On-Orbit Status Report for 13/03/2012.

FE-6 Don Pettit had several hours set aside for more testing activities of Robonaut, covered by cabin video for ground monitoring in near real-time from Node 2. Don installed a heat sink in both forearms of the manikin, and the ground then took over to put Robonaut in its Ready Pose and run sign language scripts for Robonaut’s arms, hands and fingers. At the end, Pettit and Robonaut shook hands. [After fixing a loose connector of the motion stop function, Don installed Robonaut and supporting hardware at the Lab P2 seat track location, made the necessary cable connections, powered on the hardware, activated Robonaut GUI (Graphic User Interface) and telnet windows and verified configuration readiness for ground take-over. Later, FE-6 held the Motion Stop while the ground executed the script to bring Robonaut to Stow Pose, and subsequently disassembled the equipment. Note: Robonaut powered operations should not exceed 5 hrs due to a touch temperature constraint.]
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:22 AM   #1340
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Robonaut 2 Speaks Sign Language



Robonaut 2 goes through a series of dexterity tests as it spells out "Hello world" in sign language while Flight Engineer Don Pettit looks on.
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:57 PM   #1341
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ESA: André Kuipers takes Earth Hour into orbit:
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14 March 2012

For the first time, Earth Hour will extend to the International Space Station, where ESA astronaut and WWF ambassador André Kuipers will keep watch over our planet as the lights switch off on 31 March, sharing photos and live commentary of his experience.

Since inception in the city of Sydney, Australia, in 2007, Earth Hour has become the world's largest voluntary action highlighting climate change and the need for sustainability.

In 2011, 5251 cities took part, reaching 1.8 billion people in 135 countries across all seven continents.

This year, Earth Hour will take place at 20:30–21:30, at participants' local time, on Saturday, 31 March, and the event will be observed from space by André on the Space Station.

{...}
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Old 03-18-2012, 03:18 AM   #1343
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Forgot this from Friday:

From ISS On-Orbit Status Report for 16/03/2012.

CDR Dan Burbank had most of his workday (~7 hrs) dedicated to one part of major ISS outfitting: upgrading the ISS Ku-band system by routing & installing cabling for the HRCS (High Rate Communication System). Today’s work focused on the routing of four cables in the US Lab Forward Endcone. [For the necessary rotations of the Lab D1 rack, FE-6 Don Pettit lent assistance; also required was temporarily clearing out stowage at location P1 (Robonaut & CWCs), removing a smoke detector and disconnecting some JSL (Joint Station LAN) cables. Four cables had to be installed today: one Ethernet cable from the Ku-CU (Ku-band Comm Unit) to the JSL, one AV-3 power jumper for the Ku-CU2, and two MDM (Multiplexer/Demultiplexer) 1553 data cable bundles. Cable routing in the Lab Aft Endcone has already been completed (2/1/12). Three more installation & cabling tasks will be scheduled at future dates. When fully installed and operational, HRCS will provide substantially faster uplink & downlink speeds, improved bandwidth, two extra S/G (Space/Ground) voice loops, two extra video downlink channels, and contingency Ku Commanding capability. It will also allow additional data to be downlinked from the P/L (Payload) and C&C (Command & Control) MDMs through Ku-band using the MDM Ethernet cables routed by the crew during the EPIC (Enhanced Processor & Integrated Communications) work completed earlier in the Increment. This new functionality will be achieved through three major upgrades: Improved APS (Automated Payload Switch) installations (already completed during Increment 28), improved PEHG (Payload Ethernet Hub Gateway) installations, and the Ku-CU installations. The PEHG and Ku-CU installations are not scheduled until at least October 2012. To prepare for their arrival, a number of cable routing and other tasks are required and are being done early, today’s one being one of them.]

PCS Reboots:
Starting today, MCC-Houston will perform weekly PCS laptops every Friday for the next 8 weeks, in order to gather further data on PCS lockups. The crew will be informed when reboots begin, which will take about an hour.
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:23 AM   #1345
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From ISS On-Orbit Status Report for 20/03/2012.

After last week’s routing & installing of cabling for the HRCS (High Rate Communication System) in the Lab forward endcone, CDR Dan Burbank today had ~2 hrs set aside to install a HRCS AV-2 connector panel at location D1. [The panel carries 16 connector plugs, to which Dan mated 9 JSL (Joint Station LAN) Ethernet cables (W9690) of the Ku-CU (Ku-band Comm Unit) and 6 PEHG 1/APS (Payload Ethernet Hub Gateway 1/Automated Payload Switch) data cables (W9679).

In Node 3, Dan Burbank worked several hours troubleshooting the WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment), looking for an air leak in the flush water lines and water valve block. If the air bubble source was found, the affected part was to be replaced. [Background: On 3/17 (Saturday), a “Pre-Treat Bad Qual” light came on in the WHC, indicating that the pretreat-water solution concentration was out of the acceptable range. The crew, which used the Russian ASU overnight, also observed air bubbles, as well as darker than normal color in the diluted pretreat line, which is consistent with excessive air bubbles coming from the WHC flush tank. After removing & replacing the WHC flush tank on Sunday, the “Bad Qual” light and air bubble issues reappeared. Today’s activity was part of the ongoing troubleshooting.]
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Old 03-22-2012, 04:41 AM   #1346
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An interesting document (posted by AnalogMan @ NSF) that shows the damage to 11F732 s/n 704 , which was slated to flown as Soyuz TMA-04M before being damaged in a pressurizing test. Apparently the damage is in the area housing the hydrogen peroxide container that provides the fuel for the landing thrusters in the descent module. Luckily it doesn't looks like the small cracks cannot be fixed, although I think care must be taken in re-welding the shell.... (BTW how much damage was done to the original descent module of Soyuz TMA-20, which was repaired and used on TMA-21?)
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Status of Soyuz Anomalies - vehicle No 704 - 6Mar12 2pp.pdf  
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Old 03-22-2012, 03:31 PM   #1347
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Florida Today: CASIS announces review of space station science research

Parabolic Arc: CASIS Reviews ISS Experiments for Commercial Potential


SPACE.com: Space Station Faces Cosmic Traffic Jam:
Quote:
It's shaping up to be a busy spring and summer on the International Space Station, where a slew of spacecraft, both government-owned and private, are due to visit the outpost.

The space agency of Japan announced Wednesday (March 21) that it would launch its third robotic cargo freighter to the station July 21. The vehicle, called the H-II Transfer Vehicle Kounotori 3 (HTV3), is due to lift off from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center, bearing food, supplies and scientific experiments to the orbiting laboratory.

{...}



JAXA Press Release:

March 21, 2012 (JST)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. would like to announce that the launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 3 (H-IIB F3) with the H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI3" (HTV3, a cargo transporter to the International Space Station) onboard was reported to the Space Activities Commission (SAC) as follows.

Scheduled date of launch: July 21 (Saturday), 2012 (Japan Standard Time, JST)
Launch time : Around 11:18 a.m. (JST)*1
Launch windows : July 22 (Sunday) through August 31 (Friday), 2012 (JST)*2
Launch Site : Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center


(*1) Time will be determined by the updated orbit of the International Space Station (ISS.)
(*2) The launch day and time during the launch windows shall be decided by the international coordination for ISS operations.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:51 AM   #1348
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From ISS On-Orbit Status Report for 22/03/2012.

Conjunction Alert:
New tracking has been received on Object 30595 (Fengyun 1C debris) with TCA (Time of Closest Approach) tomorrow, at 3/23, at 8:21 AM GMT, ~4 hours after ATV-3 launch. Miss distances have moved out from earlier measurements, and the PC (Probability of Collision) is below action thresholds at 2.1E-10. If required, A DAM (Debris Avoidance Maneuver) would be conducted at 3/23, 5:49 AM GMT 0.3 m/s delta-V.
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:45 AM   #1349
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Florida Today: NASA asks ISS science managers for assurance
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:31 PM   #1350
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NASA:
Beaming Success for Station Fans

Mar. 23, 2012

Did you ever use a flashlight to send a Morse code message to your neighbor at night as a kid? People like to say hello using lights and it's no different for space aficionados who want to twinkle a greeting from the Earth to the International Space Station during a sighting as it passes overhead -- except that it is a whole lot more complicated.

Although the space station has been in orbit for more than a decade, the first successful flashing of a beam of light to the laboratory happened only recently. On March 3, 2012, the San Antonio Astronomical Association met to attempt to shine a signal to the station. Aboard the orbiting lab, astronaut Don Pettit was watching and waiting.

"It sounds deceptively easy," said Pettit in a related blog entry. "But like so many other tasks, it becomes much more involved in the execution than in the planning."

Click on images to enlarge
Blue laser light (top center) flashed from the Lozano Observatory, about 40 miles north of San Antonio, as seen from the orbiting International Space Station.
(NASA)
Astronaut Don Pettit takes photographs of the Earth as part of the Crew Earth Observations investigation from aboard the International Space Station.
(NASA)


The ground group used a one-watt blue laser and a white spotlight to track the station as it flew overhead. Pettit worked via e-mail with the association members to run complicated engineering calculations to ensure they were accurately tracking the station. Considerations included the diameter of the light beam, the intensity of the laser, and the fact that the station is a moving target, as Pettit pointed out in another blog post on the difficulty of Earth photography from space.

"From my orbital perspective, I am sitting still and Earth is moving," said Pettit. "I sit above the grandest of all globes spinning below my feet, and watch the world speed by at an amazing eight kilometers per second [approximately 17,880 miles per hour]."

Pettit had additional complications to address to capture an image of the beam of light from the Texas fans of the space station. Even with a shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second, the camera he used on station was not fast enough to photograph the Earth below, which also is moving. To compensate for this, Pettit used precise manual tracking -- a technique of moving the camera along the same path as the object being photographed -- a skill perfected on orbit while working on Crew Earth Observations research.

While photographing the Earth may provide an entertaining pastime for the crew, there also are important research goals and benefits for those of us on the ground. It can take up to a month, according to Pettit, for astronauts to become proficient at taking this kind of planned image. The crew's photographic efforts can provide orbital perspectives of natural disasters and man-made alterations of the planet, which aid in relief and environmental efforts.

Preparing to capture the laser flash provided practice for Pettit in planning and tracking a specific Earth target. With the station circling the Earth every 90 minutes, you might think there is ample opportunity, but the circumstances of the pass had to align. Pettit and the team in San Antonio had to choose their timing carefully, selecting a "dark pass" when the station could see the ground, but those on the ground could not see the station.

"Ironically, when earthlings can see us, we cannot see them," said Pettit. "The glare from the full sun effectively turns our windows into mirrors that return our own ghostly reflection. This often plays out when friends want to flash space station from the ground as it travels overhead."

Planning took weeks for this particular event, between calculations and timing. That morning Pettit was excitedly waiting, camera in hand, for the precise moment. When the instant came, he was able to see not only the flash of light from San Antonio, but to capture a digital image showing the beam of light from his Texas fans.

"I was ready with cameras for the early morning San Antonio pass," said Pettit. "And [I] can report that it was a flashing success."

{...}
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