Feeds

Astronauts in seven-hour ISS construction session

Canadian robot grappled by spacegoing veterinarian

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) astronauts have completed a seven-hour spacewalk and robot-arm session, in which a number of construction and assembly tasks were completed. Part of Japan's "Kibo" ISS module was plugged in, a malfunctioning 12-foot tall 1.5-tonne Canadian robot was hopefully whipped into shape, and a Passive Common Berthing flange was pulled off.

The Canadian 'Dextre' space station robot

Two arms, three tools, 12 feet high but oh so delicate: robots are better than people.

Two astronauts worked in spacesuits, while another pair operated the Shuttle Endeavour's cargo-bay robot arm. The manipulator duo was led by shuttle commander and US Navy pilot Dom Gorie, assisted by Japanese astronaut Takao Doi. The extra-vehicular pair were shuttle specialist Rick Linnehan, who (handily) is a fully-qualified vet, and ISS engineer Garrett Reisman.

The two spacewalkers, having prepared the "Kibo" lab's pressurised logistic module before it was "grappled" by Gorie's robot arm and snapped into place, then carried out tasks involving external camera systems and berthing flange collars.

Following these efforts, the intrepid astro-construction men fitted "Orbital Replacement Unit tool" mechanisms to "Dextre", the mighty Canadian robot shipped up to the ISS aboard Endeavour.

Dextre is officially called the Canadian Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator. It is supposed to be moved around the outside of the ISS on the end of a massive articulated arm, Canadarm2, which has already been fitted to the space station. The mighty tonne-and-a-half robot has two 11-foot arms of its own, video cams, lights, and "three robotic tools" with which it can "perform delicate human-scale tasks", it says here (pdf, p54).

This will allow maintenance and so on to be done without time-consuming, potentially dangerous spacewalking by human astronauts.

At present, unfortunately, Dextre doesn't work.

"Initial attempts to route power to Dextre were not successful Thursday," according to NASA, and the partly-assembled Dextre has been "temporarily parked on the station's truss".

The plan is to grapple the recalcitrant robot with the Canadarm2 later today. "With Dextre grappled to the arm, the cabling path that is believed to be causing communications interference will not be in the loop", apparently, and "it is expected that normal communications will then be established."

Spacegoing veterinarian Linnehan and his fellow shuttle specialist Michael Foreman will perform a further spacewalk tomorrow to fully sort Dextre out. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.