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Station Crew Prepares for Discovery, Does Science

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:57 am via: source
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(NASA) – As the Expedition 20 crew members continue making preparations for a visit by space shuttle Discovery next week, they tackled a variety of science experiments aboard the International Space Station Wednesday.

Discovery, targeted to launch Aug. 25 on the STS-128 mission, is carrying more than seven tons of supplies, science racks and equipment including the COLBERT treadmill, an exercise device named after comedian Stephen Colbert.

Expedition 20 flight engineers Frank De Winne (left), Tim Kopra (foreground) and Michael Barratt work in the Unity node of the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

Expedition 20 flight engineers Frank De Winne (left), Tim Kopra (foreground) and Michael Barratt work in the Unity node of the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

Flight Engineer Tim Kopra made preparations for the arrival of his replacement, astronaut Nicole Stott, who will come to the station aboard Discovery for a three-month stay. Kopra arrived at the station on July 17.

Kopra also configured tools to be used during the three spacewalks planned for the upcoming mission.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Robert Thirsk reconfigured an EXPRESS Rack in the Destiny module. EXPRESS is a standardized payload rack system that transports, stores and supports experiments aboard the International Space Station. EXPRESS stands for Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station, reflecting the fact this system was developed specifically to maximize the station’s research capabilities.

Commander Gennady Padalka worked with the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD) experiment that measures the on-orbit mass of station crew members. SLAMMD follows Newton’s Second Law of Motion by having two springs generate a known force against a crew member mounted on an extension arm, the resulting acceleration being used to calculate the subject’s mass.

Kopra completed a session with the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) experiment. SPHERES is designed to test control algorithms for spacecraft by performing autonomous rendezvous and docking maneuvers inside the station.

Flight Engineer Frank De Winne performed another run with the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions 2 (InSPACE-2) experiment. InSPACE-2 studies fluids that can be used to improve or develop new brake systems and robotics.

Thirsk and De Winne also worked with the 3D Space experiment, which involves distance, writing and illusion exercises designed to test the hypothesis that altered visual perception affects motor control.

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