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Canadian Robot Dextre Performs Repair Activities on International Space Station

Dextre, the robotic handyman deployed by the Canadian Space Agency on-board the International Space Station (ISS) has succeeded in replacing a defective circuit-breaker box in on the orbiting lab.

The robot replaced the damaged component with a new one ensuring restoration of a section of the backup electrical systems of the orbiting lab. This act is the first time the robot has performed a replacement operation on the orbiting station.

"Dextre ferries cargo from the Kounotori2 cargo ship to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA"

Circuit breaker boxes are technically known as remote power control modules (RPCMs) and monitor electric supply via the ISS’s secondary power distribution system and are known to fail rarely. Until now, replacement of boxes was performed by the astronauts and carried a significant level of risk. Dextre was so designed as to ensure that spacewalkers need not do routine maintenance and they can utilize that time for vital tasks such as research.

Dextre was assisted by Canadarm2 in order to complete the replacement activity that was done on August 28 and 29. A number of teams of engineers at the Canadian Space Agency's headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, and in Houston supported the operation and robotics flight control personnel at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, operated the entire activity from the ground. The robotic handyman will be ready on-call to handle any task if there is any problem and also has a complete list of planned activities that it has to perform. The Canadian-built robot will transfer two storage pallets from their present location, which is the workplace of the robot to the ISS’ Express Logistics Carrier 4. One of these pallets comprises devices needed for the robotic refueling mission (RRM), which is the robot’s first R&D project to evaluate methods and technologies needed to refuel satellites in space.

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