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MFD Operations

Launch site operations

The MFD Shuttle Onboard System equipment was transported by air from Japan (Narita Airport) to the U.S.(New York), then transported by land to NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC). After arrival, function and performance tests were conducted.The MFD Experiments were then handed over to KSC. The MFD PLB equipment was mounted on the Multi-Purpose Experiment Support Structure (MPESS), and an interface verification test was conducted with the Cargo Integration Test Equipment (CITE). After the completion of the interface verification test, the MFD Shuttle Onboard System was attached onto the Shuttle Orbiter. An interface verification test with the orbiter was performed and the MFD payload is now ready for launch. After the Shuttle returns to KSC after the 11-day mission, the MFD Shuttle Onboard System equipment will be detached from the Shuttle and the MPSS, and will be transported from KSC back to Japan after a health check.

Flight Operations

The on-orbit operations of the MFD Robot Arm will be conducted for a total of 20 hours, consisting of 16 hours for crew operations and 4 hours for ground commanded operations. The 16 hours of crew operations are divided into flight days 2, 4, and 5. The two crew members assigned to operate the Robot Arm will assemble the MFD workstation in the Aft Flight Deck (AFD), activate the MFD payload, conduct a check out, release the Robot Arm from AHRM, conduct basic operations according to familiarization procedures, and confirm safety-related functions.

After that, control performance of the unloaded Robot Arm will be confirmed, and functions of ORU detachment and attachment, and door opening/closing will be demonstrated. The control performance of the loaded Robot Arm, that is, the Robot Arm with the ORU, will be then confirmed. On flight day 7, four hours of ground commanding experiments are scheduled. The crew will switch the Arm control mode to the ground commanding mode, and hand over the control authority to the ground. Only free space motion of an unloaded Robot Arm will be performed. Video data from on board cameras during the MFD flight operations including the ground commanding experiments will be recorded by video recorders of the Shuttle. One channel of the video data will be downlinked to the ground in real time. In addition, telemetry data will be downlinked to the ground via Shuttle equipment and will be used for flight operations control commanding experiments.

The Material Sample Holder of the Atomic Oxygen Exposure Experiment of the ESEM will be exposed to the space environment while the payload bay doors are open. The Cosmic Dust Collector will be faced to the orbiter velocity direction for a total of 40 hours to collect cosmic dust. Neither ESEM experiments require crew operation.

A maximum of eight experiment runs are scheduled for TPFLEX. Crew operations of the TPFLEX are limited to activating the system and setting experiment parameters, and the experiment itself is performed automatically. Each experiment run takes approximately 60 minutes, followed by 8-hours of cool down per experiment run. TPFLEX and MFD Robot Arm operations will not be conducted simultaneously.

Flight Operations Control

The flight operations control to support on-orbit crew activities from the ground will be jointly conducted by NASA and NASDA at NASA Lyndon. B. Johnson Space Center (JSC). Data such as telemetry and video from the Shuttle Orbiter will be transmitted via NASA ground facilities to the MFD flight operations control equipment located at the Payload Operations Control Center (POCC) in JSC. The NASDA POCC team will conduct crew operations support, perform data recording and analysis, replan the flight operations, and cope with malfunctions.

Concept of MFD Operations

Crew training

The operations of the MFD Robot Arm will be performed by Mission Specialists (MS) on board the orbiter. The MFD Hardware Trainer and the MFD Graphic Simulator were developed to train these crew members assigned to operate the MFD Robot Arm. The MFD Hardware Trainer physically simulates the motion of the MFD Robot Arm and will enable the crew members to become familiar with the compliance control function of the Robot Arm. The MFD Graphic Simulator simulates the movements of the Robot Arm using computer graphics, and enables the crew members to study malfunction procedures. In addition, to manually store the MFD Robot Arm in case of malfunction, Extravehicular Activities (EVA) training was conducted.


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