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  STS-123: ISS goes global with 'hand and hope' (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   STS-123: ISS goes global with 'hand and hope'
Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-13-2008 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Capcom Al Drew informed Endeavour's crew that no focused inspections of their thermal protection system will be required.

The heat shield is still considered by flight controllers to be in a "degraded" condition as analysts continue to study the RCC imagery that was returned during the inspections on flight day 2 and the rendezvous pitch maneuver (RPM) photos downlinked from the ISS on flight day 3.

Jay Chladek
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posted 03-13-2008 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What is the definition of "degraded" that NASA is using? If I understand it correctly, then the condition just means that they believe the heat shield is just fine, but they aren't signing off on it until all their inspections are completed and they can say so with authority on the matter. Am I correct?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-13-2008 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
What is the definition of "degraded" that NASA is using?
"Degraded" is the midway point between "clean" and "damaged".

During STS-122, when a thermal blanket was seen protruding from the left OMS pod, even though it was considered safe for landing, the TPS was considered "degraded" as a result. The same was true with regards to the heat shield tile divot on STS-118.

Endeavour cannot yet be considered "clean" as the inspection data has not been fully analyzed. There is what appears to be some "small TPS damage" near the arrowhead at the forward section of the orbiter where the external tank is attached. The imagery team has requested time to study that area, but have decided that a close inspection will not be necessary.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-13-2008 04:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
So with respect to the mechanical things we can try to restore power, there is one more thing we can do but it requires the help of the EVA crew. And that is to go off and inspect all of the connectors and cables that we were anticipated were already connected to determine whether or not that might be a source of the problem.
This inspection of Dextre's power connections, as described by flight director Ginger Kerrick earlier today, was added as as "get-ahead" task for tonight's spacewalk. From the flight day 4 execute package uplinked to the crew:
quote:
We are also adding a get-ahead task to EVA 1 to inspect some of the SLP [Spacelab pallet] connections. Message 16-1327 (MSG 028) SPDM Connector Inspections contains the details of this task, but the big picture is that you will be verifying torque on the SLP PDGF horseshoe connectors, and inspecting the four harnesses at the pivot assembly (SLP forward).
That said, confidence is high that a software patch will be successful. Per Kerrick:
quote:
The theory is that the box that we are powering on, which is called the Power Switching Unit or you'll hear us refer to that as the PSU that we are trying to communicate with while it is still powering up. So our Canadian Space Agency counterparts are looking into a software patch that would extend the amount of time between the power up and when the workstation tries to communicate with it.
According to station manager Mike Suffredini, this same problem and software fix has been seen and fixed accordingly twice before. In fact, the software patch that is expected to be uplinked after tonight's EVA is the same that was written for the earlier issues, only updated for the SPDM.

For reference, here is a good diagram that provides the layout of the SLP and Dextre as they are currently attached to the station:

According to Suffredini, should the power to Dextre not be able to be restored, the only constraint it presents (other than having to troubleshoot Dextre) is to STS-124, when they go to install Kibo's Pressurized Module. The current plan calls for the SSRMS (Canadarm2) to be position on the Mobile Base Station, where it will reach over and grab the module from Discovery's payload bay. Should it be necessary however, to leave Dextre inside its pallet (for thermal reasons), its position may present a clearance issue for the arm. It is not an unworkable problem, said Suffredini, but it is not something they have a plan for as of yet.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-13-2008 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tonight's spacewalk primary task is preparing the Japanese Logistics Pressurized (JLP) module for installation on the station. Mission Control had a cautionary message for the STS-123 crew about the addition:
quote:
Today, you will open up the JLP and add to the total square footage of ISS. The Harris County tax assessors estimate that this will increase the value of the station by $43.6 M, and the millage rates will be increased accordingly. We may have to dip into your per diem as we had not counted on the higher resulting rent for your crew. The good news is that if we add a bathroom and bamboo flooring to the JLP, we can more than double that assessed value in resale price!

Jay Chladek
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posted 03-13-2008 08:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But will it have a sushi bar also?

Thanks as ever for the updates Robert.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-13-2008 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tonight's spacewalk, the first for the STS-123 mission, began at 8:18 p.m. CDT.

STS-123 mission specialist Rick Linnehan, EV1, is wearing a spacesuit with solid red stripes. ISS Expedition 16 flight engineer Garrett Reisman, EV4, has diagonal candy cane stripes on his extravehicular mobility unit (EMU).

Together, they will prepare the Japanese Logistic Pressurized (JLP) module (also known as the Kibo ELM-PS) for its removal later tonight from Endeavour's payload bay. They will:

  • open the Centerline Berthing Camera System on top of the Harmony module. The system provides live video to assist with docking spacecraft and modules together.

  • remove the Passive Common Berthing Mechanism, the round flange which can attach to another spacecraft or module; and

  • disconnect the launch-through-activation channels.
They will also install both of Dextre's "hands", the Orbital Replacement Unit (ORU) change-out mechanisms that will be used to perform routine maintenance outside the station.

They will also inspect Dextre's connectors to insure they are seated properly, in an effort to further troubleshoot its inability to be powered.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-13-2008 11:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Linnehan and Reisman have completed their work on the JLP and are now working on configuring Dextre.

Dextre's "hands"...

Robert Pearlman
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As Linnehan and Reisman clean up their work at Dextre's Spacelab palette, JAXA mission specialist Takao Doi and STS-123 commander Dom Gorie are operating Canadarm, the shuttle's robotic arm, to lift the Japanese Logistics Pressurized (JLP) module out of Endeavour's payload bay.

Robert Pearlman
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Robert Pearlman
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The Japanese Logistics Pressurized (JLP) module was attached to the International Space Station at 3:06 a.m. CDT.

The docking marks the first time since assembly began in 1998 that elements from all 15 partner nations are represented as part of the ISS.

The JLP, the first component of JAXA's three-piece Kibo laboratory, will be moved from its newly temporary berth atop the Harmony node to its permanent location atop the Japanese Pressurized Module after the latter is launched and docked to the ISS during the STS-124 mission in late May/early June.

Robert Pearlman
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The first spacewalk for the STS-123 mission came to a close after 7 hours and 1 minute at 3:19 a.m. CDT.

This was the fourth spacewalk for mission specialist Rick Linnehan, who now has logged a career total of 28 hours and 22 minutes outside in space. ISS Expedition 16 flight engineer Garrett Reisman was performing his first EVA.

This was the 105th spacewalk dedicated to the assembly and servicing of the ISS. In total, astronauts and cosmonauts have devoted 660 hours and 44 minutes to EVAs outside the station.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-14-2008 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
That said, confidence is high that a software patch will be successful...
Unfortunately that confidence did not translate into a solution. From From Bill Harwood (CBS/Spaceflight Now), concerning the Dextre Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) and its Spacelab pallet, which was moved from Endeavour's payload bay to the station's Mobile Base System:
quote:
After extensive troubleshooting, Canadian robotics experts now believe a suspect data cable - not a software timing issue - is preventing computer commands from powering up a $209 million maintenance robot under construction aboard the international space station. Covering the bases, they uplinked a software patch early today to adjust the timing of the computer commands as originally planned, but, as most expected, the patch didn't work.

...

"We've had some experience in the past with timing issues and we thought, well, we can fix that with software," said Pierre Jean, acting space station program manager for the Canadian Space Agency. "We kicked that off right away, that was something we're very comfortable with.

"As we looked through it and we really delved into the design, it became apparent to our engineers across the team that the actual design of the cable was wrong. It passes the power, but the way it handles the data, it doesn't guarantee that data will be passed properly and returned. So it basically boils down to a design issue in the cable that was not discovered prior to this moment.


Flight controllers now plan to grapple Dextre with the station's robotic arm around 10 p.m. CDT today. With Dextre grappled to the arm, the cabling path that is believed to be causing communications interference will not be in the loop. It is expected that normal communications will then be established.

"At this point in time, we're pretty confident that by 10 o'clock tonight we should have the answer to this particular [problem]," said Pierre Jean, acting program manager for the Canadian space station program.

Scott
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quote:
Originally posted by James Brown:
Here's a neat shot of 123 I did early this morning
That is an incredible photo.

Robert Pearlman
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Endeavour's thermal protection system (heat shield) has been cleared for reentry.

Robert Pearlman
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Welcome to Pooh Corner, the mission formerly known as STS-123, according to flight controllers who posed the following to Endeavour's crew in today's execute package:

quote:
With Garrett's new notoriety as "Pooh Bear", we want to know which other characters from Pooh Corner (our new pet name for STS-123) the rest of the crew are named after. Your choices are Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Owl, Kanga, Roo and Rabbit. 8 characters and 8 crew -- coincidence? We think not.

Why is Garrett Reisman notoriously "Pooh Bear"? Christopher Robin wants to know...

Update: A 'honey bee' reminds us of an exchange between Reisman and capcom Jim Dutton as communications were confirmed between Mission Control and the STS-123 crew as space shuttle Endeavour was prepared for launch. It went something like this:

Reisman: Loud and clear, Jim Dutton, cute as a button.

Dutton: And thanks for that Pooh Bear...

Robert Pearlman
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Meanwhile, in outer space...

In preparation for tonight's hatch opening and first entry into the Japanese Logistics Pressurized (JLP) module (scheduled to take place at 11:18 p.m. CDT), the shuttle and station crews are working together to outfit the JLP vestibule the area between the Harmony Node 2 and JLP hatches and to activate the new module.

Concurrently, the station's robotic arm has been used to unberth Endeavour's boom (OBSS) out the payload bay and hand it off to the shuttle robotic arm for use during late inspections before undocking. The OBSS will be installed on the station's truss during STS-123's fifth and final spacewalk to allow room for the Japanese Pressurized Module on STS-124.

Later tonight, at 8:53 p.m. CDT, the station's robotic arm will again be used, this time to grapple Dextre's Spacelab pallet in an effort to establish power the robotics system.

Robert Pearlman
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Initial entry into the Japanese Logistics Pressurized module began early, starting at 8:23 p.m. CDT.

Station commander Peggy Whitson and JAXA astronaut Takao Doi opened the hatch leading into the first of three components built by the Japanese space agency.

Together with STS-123 mission specialist Rick Linnehan, the three entered the module wearing protective gear, including masks and goggles, to protect from any floating debris that might have dislodged during its launch aboard Endeavour.

"This is a small step for one Japanese astronaut but a giant entrance for Japan to a greater and newer space program," said Doi after addressing his nation in Japanese.

"And we aboard the ISS would like to officially welcome the Japanese elements aboard the International Space Station," replied Whitson. "We love our new room already, it looks great, and we are very happy to have our new partners working much more actively now with a new module on-board. We look forward to all our future work together."

Robert Pearlman
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Canadarm2, the space station's remote manipulator system (SSRMS), grappled the Spacelab pallet holding the Dextre Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) at 8:59 p.m. CDT, in an effort to power the Canadian robot.

Robert Pearlman
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As of 9:10 p.m. CDT, Dextre was confirmed to be successfully drawing power through Canadarm2.

Robert Pearlman
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Pinpointing the root of Dextre's power problems

Friday evening's successful powering of Dextre through the Canadarm2 proved the theory by Canadian Space Agency engineers that the cable running power through the Spacelab pallet had been configured incorrectly. The "keep-alive" cable was not terminated where it should it have been, which in turn caused the issue with routing power to Dextre.

But why was the cable configured as it was?

According to Pierre Jean, acting ISS program manager for the Canadian Space Agency, in an interview with collectSPACE, their current thinking traces back to how Dextre was to be attached to the station's Mobile Base System (MBS).

Currently, the Dextre Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) is attached to the MBS inside its Spacelab pallet (SLP) via the Payload and Orbit Replaceable Unit Accommodation (POA). The POA functions just like the Canadarm's latching end effector but does not have the "sense of touch" of Canadarm2. The POA is able to provide electrical power and exchange data while grappling large and heavy items.

Dextre however, was not originally designed to connect to the POA. Instead, it was to attach to the Mobile Base System's Common Attach System (MCAS). The MCAS includes a powered claw to grip a special capture bar on payloads, which provides power and data exchange.

The "keep-alive" cable, called such due to its primary purpose of powering heaters to protect Dextre's systems from the extreme cold of space, was designed to work in tandem with the MCAS. When the manifest changed and Dextre was re-targeted for the POA, Dextre's engineers overlooked the need to reconfigure the cabling. Very simply, they saw it only as a matter of unplugging it from one system and plugging it into the other.

Robert Pearlman
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The joined crews embraced each other and exchanged gifts...
ABC News asked STS-123 commander Dom Gorie this evening from space what gifts he had brought for station commander Peggy Whitson:

"You know, shopping for a lady there are a couple of things you need to get. One of them, of course, is clothes and we brought her a new shirt. And you always want to bring somebody jewelry and we brought her a charm that has Kibo inscribed on it for the new module that we brought her. And of course chocolates were in order, and Mike Foreman, our MS2's brother is a candy manufacturer. He makes some specialized candy and we brought her some chocolates."

Jay Chladek
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posted 03-15-2008 02:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So, if the power/data cable on Dextre is not set up right, will they be able to come up with a workaround for it during the period between this mission and the next one to keep the heaters working? Only thing that comes to mind with me is that they would just plug the cable into an MCAS configured port until one that can attach to the POA properly is flown up to it.

NavySpaceFan
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posted 03-15-2008 06:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
So, if the power/data cable on Dextre is not set up right, will they be able to come up with a workaround for it during the period between this mission and the next one to keep the heaters working?
The way I understand it is that the problem was not with Dextre, but with the pallet. Here is the quote from CSA via Space.com:

quote:
Jean said the problem can ultimately be traced back to a mistake made when engineers were asked to change the way Dextre's pallet was powered by the space station. He explained that the cable was not broken it just wasn't the correct kind for the powering system, preventing the space station's computers from communicating with the high-tech robotic pallet.

"The cable design wasn't updated for the system," Jean said of the oversight that blocked the flow of electricity. "It was one of those things that sometimes happens. I don't think you can really lay blame ... on anyone."


Robert Pearlman
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quote:
Originally posted by NavySpaceFan:
The way I understand it is that the problem was not with Dextre, but with the pallet.
The problem was with the "keep alive" cable running through the pallet to Dextre. Its use was only intended for the short time that Dextre remained in the SLP before being installed on the Destiny lab.

By connecting Dextre with the Canadarm2's Power and Data Grapple Fixture (PDGF), they demonstrated that the issue was limited to the SLP's cable. When Dextre is moved to Destiny, or when its in use onto the Mobile Base System or onto the end of Canadarm2, it will always will be powered by a PDGF connection.

Robert Pearlman
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From today's execute package, Asimov's Three Laws of [Dextre] Robotics:

Optimus Prime, Gigantor and Robbie the Robot are here in MCC today, representing the Robot Actors Guild, to celebrate the launch of Dextre. There was an embarrassing gaffe last month, during STS-122 when they came out to honor the wrong "Dex".

We've incorporated a few new flight rules, now that we are about to have robotic EV's:
  1. Dextre may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. Dextre must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. Dextre must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
The guild members bristled about these rules and, "being held down by the man", but figure that they can't be held back for long. "First Dextre, next Data, then THE MATRIX!" declared Optimus at arrival at JSC.

Robert Pearlman
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Tonight's spacewalk, the second for the STS-123 mission, began at 6:49 p.m. CDT.

For this spacewalk, mission specialist Rick Linnehan, EV1, is wearing a spacesuit with solid red stripes and Mike Foreman, EV3, has broken horizontal red stripes on his extravehicular mobility unit (EMU).

Together, they will assemble the Canadian Space Agency's Dextre Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), removing its thermal covers and installing its arms.

Robert Pearlman
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Linnehan is now latched into a portable foot restraint at the end of Canadarm2. ISS 16 flight engineer Garrett Reisman is driving the arm from inside the station.

Foreman and Linnehan are working to unberth the first of Dextre's two arms. They ran into a bit of trouble with a fastener that wouldn't release.

"What we need is a PGT [pistol grip tool] jack hammer," said Foreman. "Do we have one of those?" replied Linnehan.

Foreman retrieved a prybar from a toolkit, which Linnehan then used to dislodge the bolt. "It was like doing a chin-up with one hand!" he exclaimed, referring to the force he exerted to free the fastener. "We're really having to get medieval with Mr. Dextre."

Robert Pearlman
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Linnehan and Foreman temporarily moved the first of Dextre's two arms to the side of the Spacelab pallet.

Robert Pearlman
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Linnehan has detached the four bolts that held Dextre's body to Spacelab pallet.

Cliff Lentz
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Asimov's Three Laws of [Dextre] Robotics
It's really strange. I'm watching Dextre being assembled on my laptop while watching "I, Robot" on FX!

"The three laws will only lead to ONE logical outcome..."

Robert Pearlman
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Linnehan had to use the prybar again to free the expansion diameter fittings (bolts) on the second of Dextre's arms.

Robert Pearlman
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Linnehan unberthed Dextre's second arm from the Spacelab pallet and handed it to Foreman. He will next lift Dextre's body to a 60 degree inclination so that its arms can be installed.

The two spacewalkers are running approximately an hour behind in their timeline.

Robert Pearlman
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Riding the Canadarm2, Linnehan lifted Dextre's body out of the Spacelab pallet to a 60 degree inclination.

"You're Mr. Roboto," said Foreman to Linnehan, as Dextre "sat up" on its pallet hinge.

Robert Pearlman
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Linnehan and Foreman have installed the first of Dextre's 11-foot arms onto its torso.

"Good job guys, we now have a one-arm monster," said IVA officer Bob Behnken from inside Endeavour.

Robert Pearlman
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Linnehan has removed the second arm from its temporary stow position on the side of the Spacelab pallet and is moving it to install on Dextre's torso.

Robert Pearlman
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Linnehan and Foreman have attached Dextre's second arm.

Robert Pearlman
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The upper right scene captures the STS-123 mission with the Kibo and Endeavour in the background and the two-armed Dextre in the foreground.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-16-2008 02:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The second spacewalk for the STS-123 mission came to a close after 7 hours and 8 minutes at 1:57 a.m. CDT.

This was the fifth spacewalk for mission specialist Rick Linnehan, who now has logged a career total of 35 hours and 30 minutes outside in space. Mike Foreman was performing his first EVA.

This was the 106th spacewalk dedicated to the assembly and servicing of the ISS. In total, astronauts and cosmonauts have devoted 667 hours and 52 minutes to EVAs outside the station.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-16-2008 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
During last night's spacewalk, Mike Foreman reported damage to his spacesuit gloves, noticing where the RTV — the rubberized coating on the palm — was liberating from the glove. He was never in any danger, the Room Temperature Vulcanizing silcone is only intended to enhance tactility, still ground controllers have asked he use his back-up set of gloves for his next EVA. From the execute package:
The EMU Glove team has reviewed the photos of your prime gloves s/n 6065 (6HD) and determined that they are no-go for EVA 4. You will need to go to your backup gloves so we will have you change them during the EMU Reconfig/Swap for EVA 4 activity scheduled for FD09.
In the same set of instructions, flight controllers suggested they may have found a solution to protecting the crew's gloves from further damage.

We've been thinking hard about wear and tear on EMU gloves, and you'll be glad to know we have a prototype solution in the works. It's called the Mmod Resistant Handling Aid for Normal Dexterity (MR HAND). Here is one of our technicians modeling MR HAND.


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