Feeds

Astronauts in seven-hour ISS construction session

Canadian robot grappled by spacegoing veterinarian

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.