Robotic Refueling Experiment Installed on Space Station

About three hours, 15 minutes into the spacewalk on Tuesday, Mike Fossum and Ron Garan completed installing the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) experiment onto a platform on Dextre, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator.

Strapped at the end of Canadarm2, Mike Fossum, one of the ISS crew members, grasped the washing machine-sized box from the shuttle’s payload bay and installed it temporarily on Dextre’s workbench. After the end of the mission, the RRM equipment will be transferred, by Canadarm2 and Dextre, to the EXPRESS Logistics Carrier 4.

The RRM gear consists of a toolbox and a customized task box which will be used to test the technology and techniques required for refueling satellites in flight with remotely-operated robots. Dextre, the Canadian robotic handyman on the Space Station, will carry out the demonstration about six to twelve months after the end of STS-135.

The tests will demonstrate that remote-controlled robots can perform refueling tasks in orbit, using commands sent from controllers on Earth. RRM is expected to reduce costs and risks, and lay the foundation for future robotic servicing missions.