Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



SPACE TRAVEL
NASA's Robotic 'Sniffer' Confirms Space Station Leak, Repair
by Peter Sooy for GSFC News
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Sep 19, 2017


The Robotic External Leak Locator on the end of the Dextre robot in February 2017. Image courtesy NASA. For a larger version of this image please go here.

In recent operations on the International Space Station, robotic operators were twice able to test and confirm the ability of the Robotic External Leak Locator (RELL) to "smell" in space. Using the RELL instruments, operators successfully located a small leak from the station's ammonia coolant loop, and confirmed that it was not a safety concern. Later they were able to return and more precisely characterize the leak. This valuable data helped station operators vent and isolate the leaking line from the coolant loop and successfully stop the leak.

"By locating and monitoring this ammonia leak, RELL verified station's safety status and avoided a risky spacewalk to find the leak," said Adam Naids, RELL project manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "RELL performed spectacularly and successfully carried out the job it was built to do."

RELL was launched to the space station aboard a Orbital ATK resupply mission in 2015. It was stowed aboard the space station for several months before NASA astronaut Kate Rubins loaded it onto the Japanese Experiment Module slide table. The slide table was extended into space where robotic operators from NASA Johnson controlled the Dextre robot to grab RELL and run it through initial testing. Engineers on the ground verified RELL was functioning properly and effectively communicating back to Johnson.

RELL's instruments provide directionally sensitive measurements of the amount and kind of gases present. By taking samples, RELL established baseline readings for amounts and kinds of gases which are normally present outside the station. These baseline readings matched what engineers expected, but RELL detected an ammonia signature during the final portion of testing.

Operators were able to identify the ammonia source, an isolation valve for the ammonia cooling loop on the station. Robot operators maneuvered Dextre to position RELL within 12 inches of the leak to collect measurements for several days. With the data gathered, personnel on the ground were able to determine the leak posed no risk to the station or astronauts on board.

Later, ground controllers returned RELL to take high resolution scans from a variety of angles to identify the specific location of the leak. Assisted by RELL's precise data, station managers choreographed a spacewalk which saw astronauts perform tests to gather additional data that would inform a plan to solve the leak issue. Afterwards, station operators successfully vented and isolated the leaking hose connection from the rest of the cooling system. The station team was able to confirm the leak had stopped and the ammonia coolant loop was intact.

To date, RELL has logged nearly 190 total hours in space, completed thousands of scans, and continuously demonstrated its value aboard the space station. RELL is currently inside station, ready to return outside when needed.

"Robotic tools apply to many areas of space exploration," said Benjamin Reed, deputy division director for the Satellite Servicing Projects Division (SSPD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "RELL is at the forefront of the great work being done with robotic tools on space station, and we couldn't be more pleased with its successes."

RELL is a collaboration between the Engineering Directorate at Johnson and SSPD at Goddard.

SPACE TRAVEL
Three astronauts blast off for five-month ISS mission
Baikonur, Kazakhstan (AFP) Sept 12, 2017
Two US astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut blasted off for the International Space Station in a nighttime launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Wednesday, heading for a five-month mission. The Soyuz MS-06 rocket carrying Alexander Misurkin of the Russia's Roscosmos space agency, NASA first-time flyer Mark Vande Hei and his veteran colleague Joe Acaba launched as scheduled at ... read more

Related Links
Robotic External Leak Locator
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

SPACE TRAVEL
Aussie astronaut calls for establishment of national space agency

NASA's Robotic 'Sniffer' Confirms Space Station Leak, Repair

Australia to create national space agency

Space Cooperation Between China, Russia Needs Long-Term Mechanism

SPACE TRAVEL
What looks good on paper may look good in space

ISRO to resume satellite launches by December

Demonstrator 3 linear aerospike ready to start tests

Mechanisms are Critical to Space Vehicle Flight Success

SPACE TRAVEL
HIAD heat shield material feels the burn during arc jet testing

Six emerge from 8-mo Mars experiment in Hawaii dome

Hope to discover sure signs of life on Mars

More evidence of water on Mars

SPACE TRAVEL
Work on China's mission to Mars 'well underway'

Chinese company eyes development of reusable launch vehicle

Mars probe to carry 13 types of payload on 2020 mission

China's cargo spacecraft separates from Tiangong-2 space lab

SPACE TRAVEL
Thomas calls for new comprehensive Australian Space Agency at IAC address

Lockheed Martin introduces new satellite bus lineup

Bulgaria Sat Wins "Newcomer Satellite Operator of the Year" for 2017

Transitional FSS industry adapting, innovating to spur recovery

SPACE TRAVEL
Positive, negative or neutral, it all matters: NASA explains space radiation

A dream of foam

Space radiation is risky business for the human body

Corrosion in real time

SPACE TRAVEL
NASA's Hubble captures blistering pitch-black planet

KFU astronomers discovered an exoplanet together with Turkish and Japanese colleagues

FINESSE Mission to Investigate Atmospheres of Hundreds of Alien Worlds

Scientists propose new concept of terrestrial planet formation

SPACE TRAVEL
Global Aerospace Corporation to present Pluto lander concept to NASA

Pluto features given first official names

Hibernation Over, New Horizons Continues Kuiper Belt Cruise

Jupiter's Auroras Present a Powerful Mystery




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement