Monday, September 05, 2011

DEXTRE Applies a Bit More Torque to the ISS

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is reporting the successful replacement of a failed, high tech circuit-breaker by the Canadian made DEXTRE robot on board the International Space Station (ISS), according to the August 30th, 2011 CSA press release "Dextre, Space Electrician: Canadian Robot Repairs Components on the Space Station.

The circuit breaker, called a remote power control module (RPCM) is one of 72 similar units aboard the ISS and was replaced remotely by flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center supported by engineers at CSA headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec.

A second RPCM is scheduled for replacement over the next few days.

DEXTRE, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM).
But an earlier attempt to replace the circuit breakers was unsuccessful as outlined in the July 20th, 2011 CSA press release "Dextre’s final exam postponed" when tests revealed that it would take more force than anticipated to pull out the nine-pound unit.

As well, the September 30, 2010 Aviation Week article titled "Cost Cutting Cited In Dextre Commissioning Delay," reported on another failure in July 2010 when DEXTRE simply didn't have the capability to remove a failed ISS power controller. The Aviation Week article also quoted Sarmad Aziz, a CSA robotics flight controller as stating that the initial engineering analysis was based on "low-fidelity" hardware in order to save money.

Whatever the reasons for the earlier failures, this most recent success will allow DEXTRE to finally move forward with its original mission, which was to replace some activities otherwise requiring spacewalks in order to save ISS astronauts time and allow them to concentrate on other activities.

According to the CSA press release, the next job for DEXTRE will be to relocate two small storage pallets to the Express Logistics Carrier 4 payload platform of the ISS in preparations for future experiments. One of the pallets carries the equipment for the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), Dextre’s first research and development project to test the technologies and techniques necessary to refuel satellites in flight.

DEXTRE was launched March 11, 2008 on the STS-123 space shuttle mission. For a more detailed analysis of recent DEXTRE activities, check out the September 4th, 2011 NASA article "Canada’s Dextre Completes Marathon Week of Robotics Ops on ISS."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Support our Patreon Page