Multinational ISS Robot Arm Ops Install External U.S., Japanese Experiments


Robot arm operations place HTV-3 external payloads platform, right, on the ISS Kibo exposed facility.  Image Credit: JAXA, NASA

Using carefully choreographed Canadian and Japanese robot arm operations this week, ground-based flight control teams and astronauts aboard the International Space Station have extracted a pair of external experiment packages from Japan's recently docked unpiloted HTV-3 supply ship and positioned them outside the orbiting science lab.

On Tuesday, NASA's Space Communications and Navigation Testbed -- in the grasp of Canada's Multi-purpose Dextrous Manipulator, or DEXTRE, and the longer Canadarm2 -- was headed for its permanent home on the External Logistics Carrier 3 on the port side of the station's vaulting solar power truss.

SCAN, the centerpiece for a long running engineering evaluation of reconfigurable software defined radios for future spacecraft communications and navigation architectures, reached the station aboard Japan's HTV-3 on July 27. Japan's Multi-Mission Consolidated Equipment platform, which accompanied SCAN as an unpressurized payload on the HTV-3, is headed for a permanent home on Japan's Kibo experiment module exposed facility later this week.
MCE holds five smaller experiments, two for atmospheric observation and others for the evaluation of inflatable structures, robot tether movement and high definition television.

After rendezvousing with the station, the HTV-3 and its 4.6 metric ton cargo assortment was grappled and berthed to the station's U. S. segment Harmony module by astronauts Joe Acaba and Akihiko Hoshide using the 58-foot long Canadarm 2. After the berthing operation, the
Canadian arm was fastened by ground controllers to the HTV-3's external payloads platform upon which SCAN and MCE were secured for the July 20 HTV-3 launching.

Ground controllers then used the Canadarm2 to extract the external platform from HTV-3 and hand it to Japan's Remote Manipulator System, a 33-foot robot arm anchored to Kibo. Hoshide and Acaba handled the Japanese arm operations to secure the HTV-3 external payloads platform to Kibo's exposed facility – an open station structure for science experiments.

NASA ground controllers then placed DEXTRE, the 11.5 foot long robot hand, in the grasp of Canadarm 2 to move SCAN from the Kibo exposed facility to its port truss home.

A similar operation will lift the MCE from its HTV-3 platform and plant the Japanese experiment platform a few feet away on one of 10 external science ports on the Kibo exposed facility.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's On Space?

On Space

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 27, 2015

Aviation Week Lifts Veil On Boeing B-52 Bomber (1952) 12

In 1952, Aviation Week provided the first details on the new Boeing B-52 bomber....More
Aug 14, 2015

Bonanza Travel Pays 3

The legendary Beechcraft Bonanza has an impressive production record, so perhaps the marketers back in 1949 were onto something when they coined the phrase "Bonanza travel pays."...More
Aug 14, 2015

Venerable Boeing 727 Prototype To Fly Again 28

The most famous 727, the prototype aircraft which would join United as N7001U, was delivered to the airline in October 1964 having served its time as a Boeing test aircraft....More
Aug 13, 2015

Aviation Week And The Bomb

Aviation News did not predict how nuclear weapons would change the world. But neither did anyone else....More
Aug 13, 2015

Collins Radar Takes The Ups And Downs Out Of Flying

Turbulence? Rockwell Collins had a solution for those bumpy rides in the early 80s with its WXR-700 Doppler Weather Radar....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×