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Dextre's Most Dexterous Task: Canadian Space Agency Robot Sets Record for Precision (Forwarded)



 
 
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Old April 1st 12, 05:50 AM posted to sci.space.news
Andrew Yee[_2_]
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Default Dextre's Most Dexterous Task: Canadian Space Agency Robot Sets Record for Precision (Forwarded)

Canadian Space Agency
Longueuil, Quebec

March 12, 2012

Dextre's Most Dexterous Task: Canadian Space Agency Robot Sets Record
for Precision

Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency's robotic handyman on board the
International Space Station (ISS), has accomplished the most intricate
work ever performed by a robot in space. Over three days (March 7-9),
Dextre successfully concluded the initial phases of the Robotic
Refueling Mission with unprecedented precision. A collaboration between
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, the Robotic Refueling Mission was
designed to demonstrate the ability of using robots to refuel and
service existing satellites in space -- especially those not designed
for repair. The mission also marks the first time Dextre was used for a
technology research and development demonstration on board the Station.

"The Robotic Refueling Mission required surgical precision and Dextre
succeeded each task on the first attempt," said Steve MacLean, President
of the Canadian Space Agency. "It's the robotic equivalent of threading
a needle while standing on the end of a diving board. With thirty years
of experience flowing through the iconic Canadarm, Canadarm2 and now
Dextre, Canada has honed its skills in space robotics to millimetre
precision."

For the Robotic Refueling Mission, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
designed and built a mock satellite (roughly the size of a washing
machine) fitted with various caps, nozzles and valves like those found
on satellites. The module contains four specialized tools that Dextre
can use to interact with these diverse interfaces. To conclude the
initial checkout phase of the mission, Dextre's duties included:
retrieving and testing three of the tools to ensure they survived the
rigours of launch; releasing seven launch locks that secured four small
tool adapters during the module's flight to the Space Station; and then
cutting two razor-thin wires fastening valve caps to the module. One of
these cuts required the 3.7-metre-high Dextre to slide a tiny hook under
a wire with only about a millimetre of clearance -- the most precise
task ever attempted by Canada's state-of-the-art robot. Operations on
board the Space Station were choreographed and coordinated by
international ground crews at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Maryland; Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas; Marshall
Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama; and the Canadian Space
Agency's control center in St. Hubert, Quebec.

RRM operations will tentatively resume in May 2012 with the completion
of the initial phase. Dextre will be challenged even further in the
summer months with the highly anticipated RRM Refueling task, which will
require the robot to transfer fuel from one of the RRM tools to a
refueling port on the mock satellite.

- 30 -

For more information:

Canadian Space Agency
Media Relations Office
Telephone: 450-926-4370
Website: www.asc-csa.gc.ca

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