Canadian Robot Dextre Fixes Space Station Power Issue

The International Space Station’s Canadarm2 and Dextre, also known as the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (SPDM). Credit: NASA.

Canada’s robotic suite of tools on the International Space Station (ISS) lead by Dextre removed a failed power switch earlier this morning restoring full power to the US portion of the ISS.

According to NASA the operation led by Mission Control in Houston successfully completed the operation of removing the failed Main Bus Switching Unit-3 (MBSU). A spare was installed.

NASA said “the completion of the robotics work marks the second time an MBSU was swapped out by means other than a spacewalk.”

NASA also said in an update that “technologies like these will be vital as NASA looks to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024.” Canada is leading the effort to provide a new robotic arm and tools for the NASA led Lunar Gateway program.

“The MBSU in question had failed on April 29 and reduced the station’s power supply by about 25%. There were no immediate concerns for the crew or the station. The crew had installed a series of jumpers in Node 1 following the failure to reroute power to experiments and hardware and ensure limited impact to continued station operations. Since the successful replacement, the MBSU was powered up and checked out successfully with all station systems back to nominal power configuration, including redundant power to the Canadarm2 robotic arm.”

With power restored, the SpaceX cargo resupply mission is now targeting to launch at 3:11 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 3. This will be SpaceX’s 17th resupply mission to the ISS. The cargo Dragon spacecraft is carrying more than 2,500 KG of research, crew supplies and hardware.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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