Feeds

ISS and Atlantis crews face 'daunting' box-shifting job

'Nauts must shift 4 tons of shopping, 2½ tons of station bins

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The combined crews of the International Space Station and space shuttle Atlantis are facing a "daunting" box-shifting job, following the successful transfer of the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module from the space shuttle's cargo bay to the orbiting outpost's Harmony node.

The station's robotic arm, Canadarm2, operated by STS-135 astronauts Doug Hurley and Sandy Magnus, grapples the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module from the shuttle's payload bay. Pic: NASA TV Astronauts Doug Hurley and Sandy Magnus moved the module using the station's Canadarm2 (see pic), and following leak checks to ensure a sound seal between Raffaello and Harmony, crew members were able to venture inside the 21ft long space container yesterday afternoon.

They now just have to empty Raffaello of "9,403 pounds [4.26 metric tonnes] of spare parts, spare equipment, and other supplies - including 2,677 pounds of food - that will sustain space station operations for a year".

That done, they'll then pack it with "more than 5,600 pounds [2.54 tonnes] of discarded station gear" for return to Earth.

ISS Expedition 28 members Mike Fossum and Ron Garan, meanwhile, are due to venture outside today for a six-and-a-half hour EVA. They are not now threatened by the remains of Soviet satellite COSMOS 375, as NASA previously feared, and the ISS will not have to be manoeuvred to avoid a piece of the destroyed Cold War anti-satellite weapons testing kit.

NASA explains that during their excursion, Fossum and Garan will "retrieve a failed pump module from an external stowage platform and stow it in Atlantis’ cargo bay for return to Earth, and "transfer the Robotic Refueling Mission experiment from the shuttle bay to a platform on Dextre, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator".

The pump in question is the troublesome ammonia unit which failed at the end of July last year. After putting up a bit of a fight, the device was replaced by spacewalkers Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Doug Wheelock.

The Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) "demonstrates and tests the tools, technologies and techniques needed to robotically refuel satellites in space, even satellites not designed to be serviced". NASA has more on RRM here, but summarises it's "expected to reduce risks and lay the foundation for future robotic servicing missions in microgravity".

For the latest on Atlantis' swansong STS-135 mission, click here. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.