The Extra Vehicular Removal of Foreign Object Debris from the International Space Station Node 1 Nadir Common Berthing Mechanism 2004-01-2261
This Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) removal of Foreign Object Debris (FOD) was performed on January 15, 2003. The concern began during post-flight inspections of the Passive Common Berthing Mechanism (PCBM) on the Utility Flight (UF) UF-2 (STS-111) Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM). The inspection identified debris imbedded into the sealing substrate on the MPLM Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM). Material analysis determined the debris contained Starblast™, a sandblasting material used to clean the launch pad. Debris corresponding to the MPLM CBM debris was found on the International Space Station (ISS) Node 1 Nadir CBM sealing surface during a Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) camera survey of the Node 1 Nadir CBM. Since this MPLM had mated to Node 1 Nadir CBM during the UF-2 berthing, a conclusion was drawn that the debris was deposited on the Active Common Berthing Mechanism (ACBM) sealing surface (Node 1 Nadir CBM) from the UF-2 MPLM and that the ISS Node 1 Nadir CBM FOD contained the sandblasting material Starblast™. The Node 1 Nadir CBM is the planned docking location for later elements as part of the ISS Assembly sequence. Further mating to this CBM with the Starblast™ present could damage the CBM surface and lead to a leak in the CBM seal. The ISS program determined that an EVA crewmember would be trained to remove the FOD from the Node 1 Nadir CBM. This paper describes the testing and training which took place to successfully perform the EVA and highlights the lessons learned from this exercise in an effort to inform the EVA community of the knowledge gained so that the future space FOD removal will benefit from the learning curve and experience gained.