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Station Crews Conduct Joint Activities

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Oct 7, 2009 7:07 am via: source
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(NASA) – Tuesday marked a busy day aboard the International Space Station as the departing Expedition 20 crew members prepared for their return to Earth this weekend and conducted handover activities with the station’s newest long-term residents.

Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka charged the satellite phones that he and Flight Engineer Michael Barratt will carry with them in the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft when they undock Saturday after a six-month stay aboard the station. They will use the phones in the unlikely event they land outside the expected target area in Kazakhstan and need to contact the search and recovery teams.

All nine residents of the International Space Station talk to news media. In the from front row from left to right are Commander Gennady Padalka, spaceflight participant Guy Laliberté, and Flight Engineers Frank De Winne and Michael Barratt. Behind them from left to right are Flight Engineers Robert Thirsk, Roman Romanenko, Maxim Suraev, Nicole Stott and Jeffrey Williams. Credit: NASA TV

All nine residents of the International Space Station talk to news media. In the from front row from left to right are Commander Gennady Padalka, spaceflight participant Guy Laliberté, and Flight Engineers Frank De Winne and Michael Barratt. Behind them from left to right are Flight Engineers Robert Thirsk, Roman Romanenko, Maxim Suraev, Nicole Stott and Jeffrey Williams. Credit: NASA TV

Returning to Earth with Padalka and Barratt is spaceflight participant Guy Laliberté, who arrived at the station Friday with Expedition 21 Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Maxim Suraev aboard the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft.

Barratt spent much of his day collecting data for an experiment that studies the effectiveness of adding salt to the crew’s diet to counteract the decrease in blood pressure when the body is exposed to a weightless environment. Blood pressure readings and urine samples are collected to check the efficacy of this countermeasure.

Flight Engineer Frank De Winne, who will become the first European commander of the station with the departure of Padalka, worked with Williams to set up the recently delivered Material Science Research Rack. This facility will allow researchers to study a variety of materials including metals, alloys, semiconductors, ceramics and glasses by processing the samples at temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. De Winne and Williams removed launch constraint bolts and packing materials from the large rack measuring six feet high, 3.5 feet wide and 40 inches deep.

Meanwhile in the Japanese Kibo module, Flight Engineer Robert Thirsk replaced hardware in the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility for a study of the Marangoni effect, which is the flow of liquids caused by surface tension.

Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko refilled the water container of the Russian Elektron oxygen-generating system and performed regular maintenance on life-support systems in the Zvezda module.

Both crews and Laliberté took a break from their activities to conduct a joint crew news conference with news media in the United States, Canada and Germany.

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