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Latest Tech Upgrade on ISS: High-Performance Modular Robotic Arm

GITAI’s 1.5-meter-long autonomous dual robotic arm system (S2). The S2 will be mounted external to the International Space Station (ISS) on the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock and perform on-orbit services, including maintenance, inspection, and life-extension operations for satellites. Credit: GITAI

Equipment installs and station maintenance topped the in-orbit schedule aboard the International Space StationThe International Space Station (ISS) is a large spacecraft in orbit around the Earth that serves as a research laboratory and spaceport for international collaboration in space exploration. It was launched in 1998 and has been continuously occupied by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world since 2000. The ISS is a joint project of five space agencies: NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). It orbits the Earth at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles), and provides a unique platform for scientific research, technological development, and human space exploration.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday, February 13. The Expedition 70 crew members expanded on work that began yesterday while completing some maintenance around the station as they await the arrival of an upcoming cargo craft.

The Progress 87 cargo craft is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:25 p.m. ESTEST is an abbreviation for Eastern Standard Time, the time zone for the eastern coast of the United States and Canada when observing standard time (autumn/winter). It is five hours behind Coordinated Universal Time. New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, and the Kennedy Space Center are in the Eastern Time Zone (ET).” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>EST on Wednesday, February 14. Loaded with nearly three tons of food, fuel, and supplies, Progress will dock at the station around 1:12 a.m. Saturday, February 17.

As one cargo resupply ship readies for launch, two cosmonauts—Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub—were on duty last night, February 12, to monitor the departure of the Progress 85 cargo craft. Progress undocked from the orbital lab at 9:09 p.m. before it reentered Earth’s atmosphere three hours later and harmlessly burned up over the Pacific Ocean.

Roscosmos Progress 81 Resupply Ship

The ISS Progress 81 resupply ship from Roscosmos is pictured moments after undocking from the Zvezda service module’s rear port. Credit: NASA

Kononenko and Chub had a light duty day afterward, focusing on cargo audits and preparations for future experiments.

Meanwhile, ESA (European Space AgencyThe European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration and study of space. ESA was established in 1975 and has 22 member states, with its headquarters located in Paris, France. ESA is responsible for the development and coordination of Europe's space activities, including the design, construction, and launch of spacecraft and satellites for scientific research and Earth observation. Some of ESA's flagship missions have included the Rosetta mission to study a comet, the Gaia mission to create a 3D map of the Milky Way, and the ExoMars mission to search for evidence of past or present life on Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>European Space Agency) Commander Andreas Mogensen spent the bulk of his day working in the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock. He installed the Nanoracks-GITAI S2 modular robotic arm, which demonstrates the design, build, and operations of extravehicular robotic systems. This tech demonstration aims to aid in the development of robots for in-space assembly and manufacturing, supporting future commercial lunar missions.

NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity." Its core values are "safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion." NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli spent her day on a few different tasks, collecting blood pressure data for the Vascular Aging investigation, stowing the Bio-Monitor garment and headband she donned yesterday, and collecting atmosphere samples throughout the station.

Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli in Front of Advanced Plant Habitat

NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli poses in front of the Kibo laboratory module’s Advanced Plant Habitat housing tomato plants for an experiment investigating how the plant immune system adapts to spaceflight and how spaceflight affects plant production. Credit: NASA

NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara assisted Mogensen with the Nanoracks-GITAI S2 install before photographing Plant-Microbe Interactions in Space (APEX-10) petri plates, which launched aboard Northrop Grumman’s 20th commercial resupply mission to the station. The new investigation examines whether beneficial microbes can mitigate some of the negative effects the space environment can have on plant growth and development.

In the Kibo Laboratory, JAXAFormed in 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). JAXA performs various activities related to aerospace, from basic research in the aerospace field to development and utilization and is responsible for research, technology development, and launch of satellites into orbit, and is involved in advanced missions such as asteroid exploration and possible human exploration of the Moon.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa spent his day recording space demonstrations suggested by students for JAXA’s Try Zero-Gravity educational activity. Students can vote for and suggest tasks for JAXA astronauts to carry out on station, such as putting in eye drops, performing push-ups on the ceiling, and more, to allow the youth to interact with station residents and learn about living and working in microgravity.

In the RoscosmosRoscosmos, also known as the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, is the Russian government agency responsible for space activities, including the development and operation of spacecraft, launch vehicles, and space stations. It was formed in 2015 through the merger of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the United Rocket and Space Corporation. Roscosmos is responsible for Russia's space program and works closely with other international space agencies on joint projects, such as the International Space Station. The agency is also involved in a wide range of space-related activities, including scientific research, earth observation, telecommunications, and manned spaceflight.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>Roscosmos segment, Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov completed some orbital maintenance tasks and ran a distillation cycle on the Roscosmos water management system.

Source: SciTechDaily