Canadian robots Canadarm2 and Dextre are essential to the smooth operation of the International Space Station (ISS). The robotic duo will team up again next week, when the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) heads to the orbiting laboratory, loaded with equipment.
On , Canadarm2 will catch the cargo ship and berth it to the ISS. The 17-metre-long robotic arm will also be used to unload important cargo: six new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates.
This new set is designed to replace 12 of the Station's original nickel-hydrogen batteries located on the port side of the ISS. These batteries store electrical energy generated by the Station's solar arrays, power that is essential for the ISS's daily operations.
Once Canadarm2 positions the new batteries near the worksite, flight controllers on the ground will command Dextre to perform the replacement.
They will also use Dextre's cameras to monitor operations during two spacewalks as astronauts manually connect the adapter plates and electrical wiring.
Live coverage of the HTV's launch begins on on NASA TV. The rendezvous and capture operations will also be broadcast on .
Watch the spacewalks live on the Canadian Space Agency's Facebook page.
In , Dextre performed identical battery replacement operations to upgrade the ISS's power system. Thanks to over 165 hours of intensive operations, Dextre reduced the need for six spacewalks to two—a benefit that will be replicated this month!
Having the multitalented robot on board helps astronauts spend more time focused on conducting science experiments inside the Station.