NASA Testing Odd-Looking 'Earth Shoe' on Space Station
Image: A view of the shuttle's payload bay wi
July 15, 2011 --
The final space shuttle mission (STS-135) to the International Space Station (ISS) continues. Supplies have been delivered by shuttle Atlantis and the final "shuttle era" spacewalk has been successfully completed. Here are a selection of photographs from the busy ISS since Atlantis docked with the orbital outpost on July 10.
While Atlantis was docked to the space station, a member of the STS-135 crew snapped this picture of some of the islands in the Bahamas, off the coast of the Florida peninsula (right). Miami can be seen toward the top right of the photograph. Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center are located out of shot in the bottom right of the photo.
Welcomed... Fruit? Shortly after docking with the space station, the Atlantis crew (including STS-135 pilot Doug Hurley, left) gave the resident space station crew supplies of fresh food. With a smile, Expedition 28 flight engineer Mike Fossum (right) receives a bag of fruit.
While aboard the space station, the STS-135 crew are working on many tasks during their short stay. STS-135 commander Chris Ferguson (right) can be seen here working with Japanese astronaut and Expedition 28 flight engineer Satoshi Furukawa in the Quest airlock inspecting space suits assigned to NASA astronauts Mike Fossum and Ron Garan prior to the July 12 spacewalk.
Say "Cheese"! During the six and a half hour spacewalk to retrieve a failed ammonia pump module from an external storage platform and install a robotic refueling demonstration apparatus, NASA astronaut Mike Fossum takes a picture while Atlantis is docked behind him. Fossum can be seen restrained on the end of the space station remote manipulator system (Canadarm2).
Mike Fossum points at the camera as he waits at an International Space Station pressurized mating adapter (PMA-2) docked to the space shuttle Atlantis, as the station's robotic system moves the failed ammonia pump module (out of frame) over to the spacewalking astronaut and the shuttle's cargo bay.
Robotic Assistance Mike Fossum, while attached to Canadarm2, holds the Robotics Refueling Mission payload -- one of the main tasks to be carried out during the spacewalk. The failed pump module can be seen with the two-armed robot, Dextre, on left side of the photo.
Shuttle Stowage With his feet secured to Canadarm2, NASA astronaut Ron Garan carries the failed ammonia pump module toward shuttle Atlantis' open payload bay. When Atlantis returns to Earth on July 21, engineers will study the module to see how it failed and how the problem can be avoided in the future.
In addition to installing/removing space station hardware, STS-135 delivered up to a years-worth of supplies. STS-135 mission specialist Sandy Magnus can be seen here floating inside the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module that Atlantis carried to the space station. Magnus is surrounded by the supplies for consumption of the space station residents for the months ahead.
A Picnic, Shuttle Style Seven astronauts -- six from NASA and one from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) -- and three Russian cosmonauts participate in a special meal on the Space Shuttle Atlantis' middeck on July 14. The STS-135 crew consists of NASA astronauts Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim; the Expedition 28 or station crew members are JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, NASA astronauts Ron Garan and Mike Fossum, and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyaev and Sergei Volkov. All photographs can be found in NASA's Human Spaceflight Gallery.
It’s doubtful you’ll be seeing these during the Paris Fashion Week Men’s show next month — unless you’re channel surfing and catch a glimpse of astronauts exercising aboard the International Space Station.
Which they do a lot, it turns out; two hours a day, every day in an attempt to stave off muscle wasting, bone loss and other not-so-wondrous side effects of living in zero-gravity.
These space-age Earth Shoes are an attempt to get more information about exactly what is happening to the astronauts’ bodies during their workouts on a resistive exercise device specially designed to operate in weightlessness.
The Advanced Resistive Exercise Device, or ARED, has proven its usefulness, with astronauts returning after long-duration spaceflights in better condition than previous crewmembers who didn’t have the equipment available.
“There is still progress to be made in understanding the effects of exercise on bone and muscle health,” Andrea Hanson, an aerospace engineer with NASA contractor Wyle Science, Technology & Engineering, said in a NASA interview.
Enter the ForceShoe, an extreme platform sandal designed not for looks but to assess the loads put on astronauts’ bodies during ARED exercises. The shoes are outfitted with sensors to measure forces in three different directions – up-and-down, side-to-side, and front-to back. It also can detect the twisting force, or torque, under the foot during ARED exercise.
“We are eager to understand how joint forces may be different between exercise performed on the ground and in space,” Hanson said in the NASA interview.
Researchers hope the information will lead to better and more effective exercise regimes.
A pair of ForceShoes, developed by a company known as Xsens, was flown to the space station Wednesday night aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule that carried three new crewmembers to the orbital outpost.
An engineering assessment of the shoes is expected to begin soon.
Hanson and NASA’s Human Research Engagement and Communications Office have not yet replied to a Discovery News query about how much the space shoes cost.