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Comments and to some extent the current answer to If an ISS emergency requires pressure suits temporarily, can they still use the laptops? Move the cursor? address a highly unlikely scenario where a loss or contamination even on the ISS happens and an astronaut is in a suit to stay alive and perhaps initiate some kind of recovery.

The trackpads of the laptops are capacitive and may not work with some space suit gloves, and in the case of air pressure loss may overheat.

In this excellent answer to What is the user interface of SSRMS according to enumerated item #4 it looks like it might be necessary to be able to use a laptop as part of the operation of the big robots outside the ISS.

Question: Do you need to operate laptop computers to run the ISS SSRMS robots Canadarm2 & Dextre (i.e. the ISS' Mobile Servicing System)? What if there's a pressure loss and you're wearing a suit?

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  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble but I just conceived it. Ammonia leak into the cabin, perhaps during some other critical robotic operation? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 17 at 21:09
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    $\begingroup$ I guess that's why they prefer lenovo? Because of the red dot? $\endgroup$ Feb 18 at 1:58
  • $\begingroup$ @user3528438 1, 2 $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 18 at 6:42

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Question A: Do you need to operate laptop computers to run the ISS SSRMS robots Canadarm2 & Dextre (i.e. the ISS' Mobile Servicing System)?

Note: SSRMS = Space Station Remote Manipulator System

In a normal crew-operates-the-SSRMS scenario, the operators utilize the Personal Computer System (PCS) laptop heavily. Here is an example procedure where the Latching End Effector is being checked out. All the steps beside the hand-drawn red arrow are performed on the PCS. Only at the end does the crewmember utilize the hand controller.

enter image description here

Source: International Space Station Robotics Group Robotics Book

Question B: What if there's a pressure loss and you're wearing a suit?

It is difficult to visualize a scenario in which a EVA-suited crewmember could need to operate an SSRMS PCS laptop.

  • There are two robotics workstations in two different modules. If a module containing one of them was evacuated due to loss of pressure or toxic leak, the other workstation could be used.
  • If the leak or toxic situation is so bad that the entire ISS must be evacuated, the crew retreats to the spacecraft that brought them up, in preparation for departure. These spacecraft do not contain any EVA suits. For the USOS, the EVA suits are stored in the airlock. I do not know where the Russians store their EVA suits, but it is not in the Soyuz. An evacuating crew cannot access an EVA suit.
  • The SSRMS can be fully operated from the ground, and often is. If both workstations became inoperative or inaccessible, the ground could control the system.
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  • $\begingroup$ I don't think this answer will be hotly contested :-) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 20 at 8:50

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