The Expedition 31 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station focused on science experiments and maintenance tasks Thursday while ground-operated robotics testing continued outside the orbiting laboratory.|
Flight Engineer Don Pettit worked in the Kibo Laboratory, swapping out batteries in the Japanese Experiment Module Portable Computer System laptops. He also stowed items used in Wednesday’s Amine Swingbed hardware assembly. The Amine Swingbed is a technology demonstration of a smaller, more efficient system to scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of a future spacecraft.
Flight Engineer Joe Acaba worked in the Kibo module performing a variety of maintenance tasks, including removing insulation blankets to allow for temperature equalization on the Antimicrobial Applicator. He also performed the second refill of the Moderate Temperature Loop using the Fluid System Servicer Fluid Control Pump Assembly.
Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers set up the Marangoni experiment inside the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility for an investigation of the flow of liquids caused by surface tension.
Kuipers also had some time set aside to prepare for his upcoming departure from the station. Kuipers, Pettit and Commander Oleg Kononenko are scheduled to undock from the station on July 1 aboard their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft, landing in Kazakhstan a few hours later.
Kononenko and Flight Engineers Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin worked in the Russian segment of the station performing a variety of science experiments including Typology, which studies changes in a cosmonaut’s reaction time during long-duration spaceflight. Revin also worked with Relaxation, which observes the interaction of jet engine exhaust and plasma in Earth’s upper atmosphere.
The second of three days of Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) operations came to a successful conclusion with the NASA and Canadian Space Agency ground teams completing 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. RRM operations demonstrate the tools, technologies, and techniques needed to robotically repair and refuel satellites on orbit, especially those not designed to be serviced.
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