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Kibo Utilization Office for Asia (KUOA)

Kibo-RPC News: JAXA Conducts Process Checkout of 1st Kibo-RPC

Last Updated: July 20, 2020

JAXA conducted Process Checkout of Kibo-PRC on May 21, 2020 in collaboration with NASA's Astrobee team. The Process Checkout was performed for the following purposes:

  1. to confirm the communication from Astrobee in ISS to the control room of Tsukuba Space Center
  2. to confirm the set up process of onboard objects used for the Final Round

The checkout was performed by NASA astronaut Christopher John Cassidy, who briefed with JAXA staff in January 2020. Astronaut Cassidy was well prepared and well experienced with Astrobee's operations, which led to a smooth checkout.

Astronaut Christopher John Cassidy and Astrobee (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Communication with Astrobee was established from the Tsukuba Space Center, and command and telemetry were confirmed with a dedicated terminal. Astronaut Cassidy then set up the objects which will be used for the Final Round in September 2020. Once ready, Astrobee was moved from SSIPC for the first time! It was an important milestone for Astrobee for all parties since Kibo-RPC is the first guest user who successfully operated Astrobee from outside of the Ames Research Center.

As for the usual on-orbit JAXA tasks in Kibo, the JAXA Flight Control Team (JFCT) conducts system operations and supervises Japanese users with their experiments. However, since NASA's robot was used this time, close cooperation with NASA's Astrobee technical team was mandatory. Cooperation between NASA and JAXA flight controllers are quite common. However, these days it is very rare for a NASA technical team to join Japanese users to conduct Kibo utilization, and they must conduct comprehensive and careful coordination and cooperation. Under these tense conditions the on-orbit task needed to be completed within a limited time, and both NASA and JAXA staff did their best to successfully complete the operation, which it proudly ended with a fruitful checkout.

JAXA Ground Operations Control (Credit: JAXA)

Many lessons were learned, and problems to be solved were identified out of the Process Checkout. The results of the checkout will be reflected and incorporated to the simulator which will be prepared for the finalists.

Astrobee flies from dock station (Credit: JAXA/NASA)


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