Preparations for HTV (The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-3)
We cleaned up the cupola and installed computers, reviewed our procedures and practiced on our simulator we have here as a crew of three. Everyone has a role and responsibility and it is best to make sure we all know what to expect. We practiced all this on Earth before we came up here, but the real robotic arm and the real vehicle make you want to practice a little more before it all happens.
The HTV came in close and just stopped! It was amazing, and the vehicle is beautiful. Joe drove the arm perfectly over the grapple pin and we grabbed her. It was awesome.
Then, the ground “flew” HTV with the robotic arm close to the docking port. Aki took over from there and “mated” the HTV to the docking port. The ground crew and I drove the latches and bolts (thru computer commands) to connect the HTV to the ISS. Next we had to pressurize the vestibule between the docking port hatch and the HTV hatch so we could open them both and get in. Lots of pressure checks and time to make sure there aren’t any leaks!