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Station Crew Prepares for Expansions

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Nov 4, 2009 9:27 am via: source
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(NASA) – The Expedition 21 crew aboard the International Space Station tackled a busy workload Tuesday, making preparations for an upcoming space shuttle visit as well as for additions to the habitable volume of the orbiting complex.

Before the six crew members could begin those tasks, however, a main bus switching unit failure took down about half of the space station systems, none of which were critical. The crew, never at risk from the electrical failure, worked with the flight control team on the ground for a swift and orderly restoration of power. All systems on the station were back up and running within hours, with the exception of the urine processing assembly of the water recycling system, which has been off-line for about a week. The crew will perform further troubleshooting Wednesday, backfilling a portion of the recycling system’s lines in hopes of removing a possible obstruction or further pinpointing what might be causing a problem with the urine processor.

Expedition 21 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams is pictured while working in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Expedition 21 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams is pictured while working in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Flight Engineer Nicole Stott began the first of four days of activities to prepare spacewalking tools and equipment for the STS-129 space shuttle mission planned to launch Nov. 16. The crew of Atlantis will conduct three spacewalks at the station to transfer spare parts from the shuttle’s payload bay to the station’s external structures and continue assembly activities.

Commander Frank De Winne spent some time with the new COLBERT treadmill, configuring the hardware and performing some data collection troubleshooting. De Winne also conducted a monthly inspection of the older treadmill aboard the station known as the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System, or TVIS.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineers Robert Thirsk and Jeff Williams removed a bulkhead in the Unity module to move cables into position for the Node 3 module, also known as Tranquility, when it is delivered to the station by the crew of space shuttle Endeavour in 2010. Tranquility will provide a new berthing port as well as additional room for crew members and many of the station’s life support and environmental control systems already on board. Attached to the node will be the Cupola, a unique work module with six windows on the sides and one on top.

With the launch of the new Mini-Research Module 2 (MRM2) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan set for Nov. 10, Flight Engineers Maxim Suraev and Roman Romanenko reviewed procedures for manual rendezvous techniques with TORU, the Russian telerobotically operated rendezvous system. The crew can use TORU to monitor MRM2’s approach for docking to the Zvezda service module or take control of the process if difficulties arise. Set to dock Nov. 12, MRM2 will serve as a new docking port for Russian spacecraft and an additional airlock for spacewalks conducted out of the Russian segment.

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