Status Report

NASA International Space Station Lead Increment Scientist’s Highlights for the Third Week of August 2011

By SpaceRef Editor
September 4, 2011
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NASA International Space Station Lead Increment Scientist’s Highlights for the  Third Week of August 2011

(Highlights: Third Week of August 2011) — On Aug. 16, Satoshi Furukawa successfully completed three additional Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment-2 (SHERE-2) runs. On Aug. 20, Michael Fossum completed 10 SHERE-2 runs as voluntary science. All 25 samples are now complete. SHERE-2 studies the effect of rotational stresses on the stretching viscosity of non-Newtonian fluids in microgravity. The fundamental understanding and measurement of the extensional rheology of complex fluids is important for understanding containerless processing, an important operation for fabrication of parts using elastomeric materials on future exploration missions. This knowledge also can be applied to controlling and improving Earth-based manufacturing processes.

On Aug. 22, the soak test was performed successfully on Robonaut-2. Robonaut is a dexterous humanoid robot – i.e., a humanoid robot that has the ability to use its hands to do work — designed for tasks that require fine motor control and strength endurance. It is slightly larger than a human, and is capable of generating hand and arm forces exceeding human strength. It serves as a springboard to help evolve new robotic capabilities in space. Robonaut demonstrates that a dexterous robot can launch and operate in a space vehicle, manipulate mechanisms in a microgravity environment, operate for an extended duration within the space environment, assist with tasks and eventually interact with the crew members.

On Aug. 15, Ron Garan ran the final session for the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites – Zero – Robotics (SPHERES-Zero-Robotics) competition. SPHERES-Zero-Robotics is a robotics programming competition in which middle-school students write programs to control the SPHERES satellites to achieve the game objectives while competing or collaborating with other contestants. These bowling-ball-sized satellites race against each other inside the space station to win the game. The goal is to build critical engineering skills for students, such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training and team work.

The Erasmus Recording Binoculars-2 (ERB-2) was powered on to enable download of the imagery to the European Rack Drawer. ERB-2 is a 3D video camera that is used to take images of the environment aboard the space station to create an accurate map of the station’s interior.

On Aug. 17, Satoshi Furukawa performed a checkout of the Onboard Diagnostics Kit. The Onboard Diagnostics Kit was used to support the investigation Biological Rhythms, which examines the effect of long-term microgravity exposure on cardiac autonomic function. The Onboard Diagnostics Kit is a total telemedicine system including a stethoscope and an electroencephalography. It is capable of measuring, storing and analyzing the space stations crew’s medical data.

Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist
Expedition 27/28

SpaceRef staff editor.