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Station Crew Preparing for Japanese Cargo Craft

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:32 am via: source
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(NASA) – The Expedition 20 crew is focusing on preparations for the arrival of a Japanese cargo craft after a busy week that culminated in the departure of the latest space shuttle to visit the International Space Station.

Flight Engineers Frank De Winne, Bob Thirsk and Nicole Stott used a virtual reality trainer to practice using the station’s robotic arm to grapple the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) when it arrives at the station on Thursday, Sept. 17.

Backdropped by Earth's horizon and the blackness of space, the International Space Station is seen from space shuttle Discovery as the two spacecraft begin their relative separation Tuesday.

Backdropped by Earth's horizon and the blackness of space, the International Space Station is seen from space shuttle Discovery as the two spacecraft begin their relative separation Tuesday.

The HTV, which launched at 1:01 p.m. EDT Thursday from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, will be berthed to the Harmony module. The unpiloted cargo craft is carrying about 3.5 tons of supplies to the station on its maiden voyage.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Mike Barratt gathered tools and tethers for a potential quick response spacewalk in the unlikely event that problems should arise with the HTV activities.

Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko, along with De Winne and Thirsk, participated in an emergency descent drill in the docked Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft. This drill, which uses a laptop computer and hand controller to simulate re-entry operations, is a regular procedure for each station crew.

Later, Romanenko and Commander Gennady Padalka conducted a test of TORU, the Russian telerobotically operated rendezvous system, as they checked the receiver on the docked ISS Progress 34 cargo craft. Padalka and Romanenko also had several hours scheduled for stowing trash and unneeded equipment aboard Progress 34.

Earlier in the week, Expedition 20 bid farewell to the STS-128 crew aboard space shuttle Discovery, after eight days of joint operations between the two crews. Departing with the shuttle crew as it undocked on Tuesday was astronaut Tim Kopra, who returned to Earth after 44 days as a member of the Expedition 20 crew. Stott, who arrived aboard Discovery, remained behind to begin a three-month stay in orbit.

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