Astronauts Will Assemble Giant Robot In Outer Space

Stalker2

Registered User
Jun 7, 2001
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TRueWDTer
#1
Astronauts Will Assemble Robot in Space


Shuttle Astronauts Will Assemble 'Monstrous' Two-Armed Robot Named 'Dextre' at Space Station



This illustration provided by The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) displays "Dextre" (Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator). Astronauts bound for orbit this week will dabble in science fiction, assembling a "monstrous" two-armed space station robot that will rise like Frankenstein from its transport bed. Putting together Dextre, the robot, will be one of the main jobs for the seven Endeavour astronauts, who are scheduled to blast off in the wee hours of Tuesday, March 11, 2008, less than three weeks after the last shuttle flight. (AP Photo/Canadian Space Agency) (AP)

The Associated Press
By MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Mar 8, 2008 (AP)

Astronauts bound for orbit this week will dabble in science fiction, assembling a "monstrous" two-armed space station robot that will rise like Frankenstein from its transport bed.

Putting together Dextre, the robot, will be one of the main jobs for the seven Endeavour astronauts, who are scheduled to blast off in the wee hours of Tuesday, less than three weeks after the last shuttle flight.
They're also delivering the first piece of Japan's massive Kibo space station lab, a float-in closet for storing tools, experiments and spare parts. For the first time, each of the five major international space station partners will own a piece of the real estate.
At 16 days, the mission will be NASA's longest space station trip ever and will include five spacewalks, the most ever performed while a shuttle is docked there. Three of those spacewalks will feature Dextre, which is sure to steal the show.

LINK: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=4413608
 

Fr. Dougal

Registered User
Feb 17, 2004
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#7
they couldn't get it to work...
They finally did tonight:

10:30 PM, 3/14/08, Update: Robot arm routes power to Dextre (UPDATED at 1 a.m.. with mission status briefing)

Performing electronic bypass surgery, the Endeavour astronauts late Friday successfully routed power to a Canadian maintenance robot being assembled at the international space station. Using the station's mechanical arm to feed electricity directly to a power-and-data plug on one end of the unfinished robot's torso, the crew was able to bypass suspect circuitry in the pallet used to carry the robot's components into orbit. The power-up operation was confirmed by telemetry at 10:10 p.m. A few minutes later, engineers confirmed critical heaters were working as required.

"Well, I guess I have to say it: It's alive!" joked Pierre Jean, acting space station program manager for the Canadian Space Agency. "I'm happy to report Dextre's in keep-alive mode. There was no issue with commanding it through Canadarm2 as was anticipated. The system's functioning well. ... As a result, we have both good power and data connections between Dextre and Canadarm2. The situation looks really good."

Phil Engelauf, a senior mission operations manager at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, said the successful bypass relieved "some real concern over the last day or two over getting that powered up."

"It was quite a relief and a real sense of success for the joint team to see power applied," he said. "Now we'll be able to complete the rest of the planned mission with only some minimal changes."

The special purpose dexterous manipulator, or Dextre, was launched to the space station unassembled, its arms, hands and torso bolted to a Spacelab pallet. During a spacewalk overnight Thursday, two astronauts attached gripper-like hands to the robot's arms. The primary goal of a second spacewalk overnight Saturday is to attach the 11-foot-long arms to the torso and prepare the robot for tests and checkout.

Designed as an attachment for the station's Canadian-built robot arm, Dextre is capable of replacing space station components when repairs are required that might otherwise require a spacewalk.

But engineers ran into trouble earlier in the week when they were unable to route keep-alive power to critical heaters. They initially believed the problem was a software timing issue and programmers quickly wrote a patch to change the parameters.

Studying the issue in more detail Thursday, engineers concluded the problem actually was with the 1553 data bus built into Dextre's Spacelab construction pallet. The problem is similar to what happens when a personal computer hard drive is not properly "terminated." The drive might be fully functional, but data will not flow properly. In this case, the 1553 bus should have included circuit termination but for reasons not yet understood, it does not. By connecting the station arm directly to a different grapple fixture on the robot's torso, the astronauts were able to bypass the bus and supply power directly.

The station arm does not have to stay attached around the clock. Periodic power ups will suffice to keep Dextre's joints warm until the robot is fully assembled and mounted directly to a power and data grapple fixture on the Destiny lab module.
 

NortonsHeiny

Ronnie B Rocks my Fat Ass
Nov 14, 2005
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#8
Just watched the replay and it was very cool. I know everyone likes to down NASA but I really must say the actual people who do the space walks are quite brave and rather impressive to watch...
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
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#10
Dextre rules.