Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More Space for Astronauts on ISS

Canadarm's grapple hooks onto the PMM in the Discovery cargo bay.

The Permanent Multipurpose Module was pulled from the Discovery on Tuesday. Using the magnificent Canadarm robotic arm, astronauts guided the module into its new home on the Unity Node of the ISS. It has been dubbed the "Leonardo" after its original name as a reusable cargo transfer module. With the shuttle program ending soon, there would be no further need for the module, and it was repurposed as an extra module for the ISS.

View from ISS. PMM in Discovery payload bay.

Inside the Leonardo, Robonaut 2 (R2) is awaiting unpacking and getting set to work. R2 is the first humanoid robot to be assigned to space life aboard the ISS and will assist astronauts in maintenance and other duties.

Clear view of PMM in the payload bay.

Docking the PMM to the Unity Node.

Fantastic view. Leonardo in place, Soyuz docked to the left, Discover to the right.

Leonardo was "christened" and officially open at 5:17, and Commander Kelly was the first to enter. They must be cheering in Italy today. After being built in Italy, the module made seven trips to the ISS and now permanently resides there.

A bit of bad news as well - permission was denied to undock a Soyuz for a photo fly-by of the ISS during this historic visit. Many people wanted to get a great picture of all the international spacecraft docked at the ISS during this mission. NASA officials- chill out! You need to do some fun stuff some times...

No comments: