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Flight Crew Interface Test (FCIT) of the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo's" Pressurized Module

Astronaut Noguchi conducted the Flight Crew Interface Test (FCIT) of the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo's" Pressurized Module (ELM-PS) at the Tsukuba Space Center on May 25, 2000. Here is the report.

What is a Flight Crew Interface Test?
An FCIT is conducted on the ground to confirm that astronauts can conduct on-orbit maintenance tasks including equipment exchange without difficulty by using tools and that there are no sharp edges that might injure the astronauts during EVA. The test is conducted by touching each piece of equipment. Since July 1999, NASDA has been conducting FCITs for various types of equipment in cooperation with NASA.

Recently conducted FCIT
During the recent FCIT astronaut Noguchi checked the external wall of ELM-PS to determine whether astronauts can use maintenance tools on the wall easily and whether there are any sharp edges that could injure astronauts during EVA. The tasks shown below were conducted.

Whether or not the tools can be applied easily and without problems was evaluated by applying actual tools to hardware that astronauts will operate and touch on orbit. Tools that will be used to remove the shield panels attached to the external walls of the ELM-PS were used for the evaluation.

Sharp edges verification
This is a test to check whether there are any sharp edges that might injure astronauts or space suites inside and outside the spacecraft. This test is conducted touching the equipment by hand or rubbing it with a special cloth called a swatch to see if any scratches are left on it. It is very dangerous for a space suit to be torn during EVA, so the evaluation was conducted very carefully.

Other FCIT activities
Other evaluation tasks were also conducted. The FCIT for hardware inside the ELM-PS was completed on November 1, 1999.

Orbital Replacement Unit fit check
An orbital replacement unit (ORU) is a piece of equipment that can be replaced by an astronaut. Much of the equipment that will be on board Kibo has been designed as (ORUs). Astronauts review the procedure to remove and attach the ORU on the ground and confirm that it can be replaced following the specified procedures.

Connector Fit Check
The purposes of the Connect Fit Check are to confirm whether an astronaut can plug in or remove a connector by hand, whether he or she can reach it, whether an astronaut is sure to recognize its location or type, and whether it is easy to read.

Labels check
A label is placed on each device to indicate its name and any precautions. This check evaluates whether astronauts can recognize the label easily and whether it causes any misunderstanding or misoperation.

Astronaut Noguchi
These activities evaluate hardware to ensure they can be operated on orbit without problems. From now on, FCITs will be conducted on various Kibo devices as they are manufactured.

Last Updated : Mar. 7, 2003

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