The Space Station's Canadian robotic arms have enjoyed another busy month, starting with the release of a SpaceX Dragon and ending with the deployment of a microsat. The Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) – also known as Dextre – is also looking forward to NASA's Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3), while it was recently announced that Canadian Space Agency will build an advanced robotic arm for NASA's Lunar Gateway. 19659002] While most followers of space flight will be aware of the robotic arms at work on ISS, not least through their star role in capturing spacecraft arriving at the orbital outpost,
The SRMS (Shuttle Remote Manipulator System) – also known as Canadarm – was first tested with the Space Shuttle during Columbia's STS- 2 mission.
It went on to aid numerous tasks, from deploying payloads to providing assistance to spacewalks and not least on Hubble servicing missions, during which the space telescope would be grappled and pulled into the cargo bay before moving to assist a string of EVAs to upgrade the hardware
Five arms were constructed for the fleet – Nos. 201, 202, 301, 302, and 303. The 50 foot long arm flew on 90 Shuttle missions over the course of the Shuttle era.
Following the loss of Columbia during STS-107, another 50 foot boom was added to the orbiter fleet on the opposite side of the cargo bay. The Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) hosted a suite of cameras and sensors allowing for surveys of the Vehicle's Thermal Protection System (TPS).
Two instrumentation packages were a sensor package 1 – a Laser Dynamic Range Imager (LDRI) and an Intensified Television Camera (ITVC).
A large amount of photos, video and data were acquired by the OBSS Sensor Suite and sent to the Damage Assesment Team (DAT) to aid the green light for an orbiter to safely return to Earth.
Shuttle Endeavor also carried the robotic arms to the ISS, with Canadarm2 (SSRMS) being launched early in the ISS assembly phase on Endeavor's STS-100 flight. The SSRMS is a more advanced version of its Shuttle colleague, while another addition in the form of Dextre would advance the capability yet further. Dextre was assembled during STS-123 EVAs, with spacewalkers Rick Linnehan and Mike Foreman installing the robots 11-foot arms to the torso of the robot on Flight Day 6 on the mission.
Numerous milestones were achieved with the robotic gang over the following years. One such example was when SSRMS and OBSS combined to provide the reach and access to the P6 solar array
Scott Parazynski rode on the end of the OBSS and SSRMS combination during his EVA during STS-120.
This was the value of OBSS being used as an extension, one OBSS was donated to the ISS during the final flights of the Shuttle
The OBSS, fitted by Shuttle Endeavor, now resides on the Station under the new call sign of the Integrated Boom Assembly (IBA)
The robotic assets have continued to perform well during their ISS tour, with the SSRMS performed many tasks, such as capturing the spacecraft that required berthing – and unberthing – namely the CRS Dragon, the Cygnus and the Japanese HTV
That role was carried out early in June when the SSRMS unberthed and released the CRS-17 Dragon.
The release was nominal. However, there was an issue during the process of unberthing the spacecraft from Node 2.
"SSRMS Unintentional Motion – During SpX-17 demate operations, teams noticed Latching End Effector (LEE) load cell tension ~ 20N below required values. In order to correctly recover the tension to meet flight rule requirements, it was decided to perform a re-rigidization of the LEE, which requires the use of Gear Boxing Limping (GBL), "noted L2 ISS Status Information
2 and Dragon Common Berthing Mechanisms (CBMs) were still in contact, Ready-to-Latch spring forces were present in the system, and upon commanding the GBL, the CBMs were unexpectedly separated by ~ 48 cm as this stored energy was released. No adverse results were noted. "
Teams then conducted a survey of the LEE A Survey
The SSRMS can be moved on a Mobile Transporter that runs on and up the back of the ISS.
"Nominal Mobile Transporter (MT) translation from Work Site 3 to Work Site 2. Ground teams launched SPDM operations to relocate external spares to accommodate the Li-Ion battery expected to arrive on the SpX-19, added L2 ISS Status
"At the completion of these operations, the spare Control Moment Gyroscope (CMG ), The Linear Drive Unit (LDU), the Battery Charge Discharge Unit (BCDU), and the Empty BCDU Flight Support Equipment (FSE) (were) relocated
The Stowage Platform (ESP) 3 Site 4 and the Linear Drive Unit (LDU) was successfully installed at ESP 3 Site 3.
Driving the arms is a tricky task, as noted in the status information when Dextre got a little too close to some insulation material.
"Light contact occurred between ORU Tool Changeout Mechanism-2 (OTCM) and LDU multilayer insulation (MLI) during grasp operation. "
Dextre then conducted Flight Releasable Attachment Mechanism (FRAM) swaps in the middle of June
"The SPDM removed the spare Battery Charge / Discharge Unit (BCDU) from External Stowage Platform 3 (ESP3) Site 6. The SPDM then removed the empty BCDU Flight Support Equipment (FSE) from Express Logistics Carrier 1 (ELC1) Site 4. After removal, the SPDM installed the spare BCDU at this location, "added the status notes
" This extra configuration allows for extra BCDU Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU). The EMU had a clearance issue at ESP 3 site 6 due to the neighboring Space to Ground Antenna (SGANT). "
The SSRMS transposed back to Worksite 2 (WS2) where SPDM installed the empty BDCU FSE on ESP 3 site 6,
After a short breather for the robots and their handlers, ground controllers then stored the Robot Micro Conical Tool (RMCT) and Dextre performed the SSRMS to the Mobile Base System (MBS) 1 and translate the Mobile Transporter from Worksite 2 to Worksite 7.
These tasks were in preparation for the Red-Eye Satellite deployment that was conducted this week. just extracted from the JEM slide table. pic.twitter.com/KWjWkeqkMV
– Kristen Facciol (@kfacciol) June 27, 2019
The process involved the Airlock Slide Table being extended on the Japanese Kibo Module and Dextre grasping the Nanoracks' Kaber deployment system hosting the Red Eye microsat
Dextre then maneuvered to the deploy position, conducted a (19659045) Nanteracks Overview of the Deployment System
Dextre is committed to the major role of the next Robotic Refuelling Mission (RRM)
RRM is an ISS payload developed by the Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (SSCO) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) – the same team that managed the highly complicated Hubble Space Teles (HST) Servicing Missions via the Space Shuttle.
The RRM1 launched on STS-135 in July 2011 and Dextre demonstrated its skills by using an array of tools to conduct objectives that are set to be employed on future missions.
RRM3 – launched on a SpaceX Dragon – builds on the first two phases of ISS technology demonstrations that tested tools, technologies and techniques to refuel and repair satellites in orbit
RRM3 will extend these demonstrations to include the technologies needed to store and transfer super cold cryogenic fluids
Such was the success of Canadian robots on ISS, it was a bit surprising when it was announced that the robotic arm to be used on the Lunar Gateway would be another Canadarm
Canada's contribution to the Lunar Gateway will be a smart robotic system that includes a next-generation robotic arm know
The arm will build on the decades of experience already gained through the use of the systems on Shuttle and the Canadarm3, as well as equipment and special tools. ISS, allowing Canadarm3 to maintain, repair and inspect the Gateway, capture visiting vehicles, relocate Gateway modules, help astronauts during spacewalks and enable science both in the lunar orbit and on the surface of the Moon