"This is the beauty of doing research on the space station. We're not tied to the original hardware complement we sent up three years ago. The cadence of space station supply flights gives us the opportunity to swap equipment so we can tackle a new set of technology demonstrations."
Since 2011, the duo of RRM and Dextre -- the
Robotic refueling and the tasks accompanying it - including blanket cutting, wire cutting and cap and fastener removal - were the primary focus of RRM's first set of technology demonstrations.
In its second phase of activities, RRM will move past its refueling roots to test out the inspection capabilities of a new space tool named VIPIR, the Visual Inspection Poseable Invertebrate Robot. The team will also tackle the intermediary steps leading toward spacecraft cryogen replenishment and host a demonstration of next-generation solar cell technology and a carbon nanotube experiment.
"The common thread is building up
Longer-living spacecraft would in turn translate into extended services for people on Earth who rely on these satellites for timely, accurate data. "Satellites are the unseen powerhouses that quietly generate and move the data we rely on every day of our lives: weather reports, satellite television, GPS and communications support," explained Reed.
The newly delivered RRM hardware, consisting of a task board and the VIPIR tool, joins two other pieces that were delivered to space station in
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