Friday, July 24, 2009


Message: 1
From: NASA News Services
Subject: Kibo Robotics Work Planned Today

Kibo Robotics Work Planned Today

The combined STS-127 and Expedition 20 crew was awakened at 5:33 a.m. EDT with the song “Tiny Dancer,” performed by Elton John. The song was selected for Endeavour Commander Mark Polansky.

At 9 a.m. EDT NASA Television will air a news conference introducing the crew of Expedition 21, astronaut Jeff Williams, Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev and spaceflight participant Guy Lalibert� of Canada.

The Kibo robotic arm will be used for the first time operationally to move space station hardware. Koichi Wakata and Tim Kopra will transfer two experiments and a communication system from the Japanese Exposed Section to the Japanese Exposed Facility. The Inter-orbit Communication System (ICS) is the Kibo-specific communications system for uplinking and downlinking data, images and voice between Kibo and the Mission Control Center at Tsukuba Space Center by way of Japan’s own relay satellite, the Data Relay Test Satellite, or DRTS. The two experiments are Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) and Space Environment Data Acquisition equipment – Attached Payload (SEDA-AP).

Kibo Japanese Experiment Module
The Japanese Experiment Module, or JEM, called Kibo -- which means "hope" in Japanese -- is Japan's first human space facility and enhances the unique research capabilities of the International Space Station.

09140005 -- KiboExperiments in Kibo focus on space medicine, biology, Earth observations, material production, biotechnology and communications research. Kibo experiments and systems are operated from the Mission Control Room at the Space Station Operations Facility, or SSOF, at Tsukuba Space Center in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, just north of Tokyo.

Image to right: Kibo's Pressurized Module, shown here at its manufacturing facility in Nagoya, Japan, is 11.2 meters (36.7 feet) long. Photo courtesy of JAXA.

Kibo consists of six components: two research facilities -- the Pressurized Module and Exposed Facility; a Logistics Module attached to each of them; a Remote Manipulator System; and an Inter-Orbit Communication System unit. Kibo also has a scientific airlock through which experiments are transferred and exposed to the external environment of space. The various components of JEM will be assembled in space over the course of three Space Shuttle missions. The missions are designated assembly flights 1J, 1J/A and 2J/A.

Pressurized Module

09140003 -- Kibo Pressurized ModuleThe Pressurized Module, or PM, provides a shirt-sleeve environment in which astronauts conduct microgravity experiments. There are a total of 23 racks, including 10 experiment racks, inside the PM providing a power supply, communications, air conditioning, hardware cooling, water control and experiment support functions.

Image to left: Kibo's Pressurized Module. Photo courtesy of JAXA.

The PM is 11.2 meters (36.7 feet) long and 4.4 meters (14.4 feet) in diameter, about the size of a large tour bus.

Exposed Facility

The Exposed Facility, or EF, is a unique platform on the ISS that is located outside of the Pressurized Module and is continuously exposed to the space environment. Astronauts exchange experiment payloads or hardware from the Pressurized Module through the scientific airlock using the Kibo Remote Manipulator System. Items positioned on the exterior platform focus on Earth observation as well as communication, scientific, engineering and materials science experiments.

The EF is a platform that can hold up to 10 experiment payloads at a time and measures 5.6 meters (18.4 feet) wide, 5 meters (16.4 feet) high and 4 meters (13.1 feet) long.

Experiment Logistics Modules (Pressurized and Exposed Sections)

The Experiment Logistics Modules, or ELMs, serve as on-orbit storage areas that house materials for experiments, maintenance tools and supplies. The Pressurized Module and the Exposed Facility each have an ELM.

Pressurized Section:The Experiment Logistics Module - Pressurized Section, or ELM-PS, is a short cylinder attached to the top of the Pressurized Module that can hold eight experiment racks. It measures 4.4 meters (14.4 feet) in diameter and 3.9 meters (12.8 feet) long.

Exposed Section: The Experiment Logistics Module - Exposed Section, or ELM-ES, is a pallet that can hold three experiment payloads. It measures 4.9 meters (16.1 feet) wide, 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) high and 4.2 meters (13.8 feet) long.

Remote Manipulator System

STS085-E-5030 -- Small Fine Arm PrototypeThe Remote Manipulator System, or RMS, consists of two robotic arms that support operations on the outside of Kibo. The Main Arm can handle up to 6.4 metric tons (14,000 pounds) of hardware and the Small Fine Arm, when attached to the Main Arm, handles more delicate operations. Each arm has six joints that mimic the movements of a human arm.

Image to right: A prototype for the Small Fine Arm was tested during a Space Shuttle mission in 1997.

Astronauts operate the robot arms from a remote computer console inside the Pressurized Module and watch external images from a camera attached to the Main Arm on a television monitor at the RMS console. The arms are specifically used to exchange experiment payloads or hardware located on the Exposed Facility and Experiment Logistics Module - Exposed Section and from inside the Pressurized Module through a scientific airlock, support maintenance tasks of Kibo and handle orbital replacement units.

The operations of a prototype Small Fine Arm were evaluated as part of the Manipulator Flight Demonstration experiment conducted during the STS-85 Space Shuttle mission in 1997.

The Main Arm measures 9.9 meters (32.5 feet) long, and the Small Fine Arm measures 1.9 meters (6.2 feet).

Inter-Orbit Communication System

The Inter-Orbit Communication System, or ICS, allows the operators in the Mission Control Room at the SSOF at Tsukuba Space Center to send commands to Kibo and receive system, payload and video data from Kibo for scientific payload operations. The Mission Control Room uses the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, or TDRSS, to communicate with the ICS. An external ICS unit handles communications with TDRSS, while an internal ICS unit located in the Pressurized Module handles data exchange throughout the Kibo facilities.

Mission Control Room

The Mission Control Room, or MCR, is the hub of round-the-clock, real-time operations of Kibo. Ongoing control of Kibo systems such as the electric power distribution system and the thermal control system, monitoring the condition of Japanese experiment equipment, sending control commands, and real-time operations planning is conducted here. A flight director oversees all operations in the MCR.

Communication with other control centers and the Space Station crew occur in the MCR. Flight controllers in Japan work in cooperation with controllers at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, the Russian Mission Control Center near Moscow and the Payload Operations Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Experiment status and measurement data are distributed to users from the MCR. Researchers and those in charge of experiment operations are located in a User Operations Area at the SSOF, where they monitor, control and analyze experiment data, as well as support and carry out on-orbit experiments from the ground

NASA Student Airborne Research Program Takes Flight
EDWARDS, Calif. -- Twenty-nine undergraduate and graduate students are participating in a six-week NASA Airborne Science field experience designed to immerse them in NASA's Earth Science research. The students represent 26 colleges and universities across the U.S. and nine foreign countries.

NASA's Student Airborne Research program runs from July 6 to Aug. 14 in California. The program began with lectures from university faculty members, research institutions and NASA scientists at the University of California, Irvine. One of the speakers is Sherwood Rowland of the University of California, Irvine, a Nobel Laureate in chemistry, who is a long-time user of NASA's DC-8 airborne capabilities for his research on atmospheric chemistry.

Using the DC-8 flying laboratory based at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., the students will get a rare behind-the-scenes look at instrument integration, flight planning and payload testing that is the basis of every successful Earth Science airborne campaign carried out by NASA. These airborne research campaigns play a pivotal role in the calibration and validation of NASA's space-borne Earth observations, remote sensing measurements and the high-resolution imagery for Earth system science.

Divided into the investigative groups of atmospheric science, algal blooms and crop classification, students will have the opportunity to fly aboard one of two six-hour DC-8 flights departing from NASA's Palmdale facility. The aircraft will travel north over the San Joaquin Valley for an air-quality investigation, over the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to observe vegetation, and south over Monterey Bay to research algae blooms.

The student program is one of NASA's tools for training future scientists for Earth Science missions that can assist with studies and the development and testing of new instruments and future satellite mission concepts. The program's goal is to stimulate interest in NASA's Earth Science research and aid in recruitment of the next generation of engineers and scientists. Through this and the agency's other college and university programs, NASA is developing critical skills and capabilities needed for the agency's engineering, scientific and technical missions.

The Student Airborne Research Program is managed through the National Suborbital Education and Research Center at the University of North Dakota, with funding and support from NASA's Airborne Science Program. The center was established through a cooperative agreement between the University of North Dakota and NASA.

For additional information about NASA's DC-8, visit:

For more information about NASA's Education programs, visit:

For additional information about the National Suborbital Education and Research Center at the University of North Dakota, visit:

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