Feeds

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

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
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
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.