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Station Crew Prepares for Next Shuttle Mission and Cargo Ship

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:46 pm via: source
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(NASA) – The Expedition 20 crew aboard the orbiting International Space Station focused Thursday on preparations for the arrivals of space shuttle Discovery and a Japanese cargo craft.

Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mike Barratt practiced their photography skills to prepare for taking detailed digital imagery of Discovery’s heat shield prior to its docking to the station. The photos will be sent down to Earth to be analyzed by experts at Johnson Space Center.

Expedition 20 crew members give a "thumbs-up" signal as they pose for an in-flight portrait in the Harmony node of the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

Expedition 20 crew members give a "thumbs-up" signal as they pose for an in-flight portrait in the Harmony node of the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

Flight Engineer Tim Kopra prepared systems, spacesuits and tools in support of the three scheduled spacewalks that the STS-128 crew members will conduct when they arrive at the orbital outpost aboard Discovery later this month.

Throughout the week, the station crew members completed training and tested their proficiency at the controls of the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, prior to September’s launch and arrival of Japan’s new H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV). Canadarm2 will be used to grapple the cargo-carrying HTV then attach it to the Harmony Node’s Earth-facing berthing mechanism.

Kopra, Padalka and Flight Engineer Robert Thirsk took blood samples for analysis to measure the reduction of red blood cell mass due to prolonged spaceflight.

Padalka also worked in the Zvezda service module performing routine maintenance activities and tagging up with specialists on the ground.

Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko set up equipment for and conducted a session of a Russian experiment that measures and documents environmental changes aboard the station and how they could lead to corrosion.

All six crew members had time to complete their daily exercise sessions to counteract the effects of long-term exposure to the microgravity environment of space.

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