Headlines > News > Station Crew Busy with Shuttle Preps, Science and Maintenance

Station Crew Busy with Shuttle Preps, Science and Maintenance

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Nov 6, 2009 8:42 am via: source
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(NASA) – The Expedition 21 crew members aboard the International Space Station were busy Thursday preparing for the next shuttle mission and performing a variety of science and maintenance activities.

Flight Engineers Nicole Stott and Jeff Williams conducted a training session of rendezvous pitch maneuver photography in advance of the arrival of space shuttle Atlantis and the STS-129 crew later this month. During the shuttle’s approach, they will take detailed digital imagery of its heat shield that will be sent down to Earth to be analyzed by experts at Johnson Space Center.

Expedition 21 crew members answer questions during an in-flight media event for the U.S. Department of Education. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 21 crew members answer questions during an in-flight media event for the U.S. Department of Education. Credit: NASA TV

Stott and Williams also prepared spacesuits and tools for the STS-129 mission. The STS-129 crew 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. The STS-129 crew is set to launch aboard space shuttle Atlantis Nov. 16.

Flight Engineers Roman Romanenko and Maxim Suraev worked together on the Russian experiment PILOT-M, which tests piloting skills in conjunction with the stress factors of long-duration spaceflight. They also charged batteries in satellite phones used in the two Soyuz spacecraft docked to the station and worked in the Russian section of the station maintaining its systems.

All six crew members had some time scheduled to participate in an in-flight media event for the U.S. Department of Education. Participants in the event included students from the Washington Mathematics Science Technology Public Charter High School in Washington, D.C., students from the Parkland Magnet Middle School for Aerospace Technology in Rockville, Md., Education Secretary Arne Duncan and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. During the event the crew members answered a variety of questions about life and work aboard the station.

Troubleshooting work on the Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) continued as crew members worked to get the system back on-line. Wednesday they managed to clear a clog that has caused the system to be off-line for about a week. Once the system was cleared, crew members worked to backwash and drain the liquid in the system in to the waste tank. Analysis by experts on the ground is ongoing as the crew waits for the go ahead to restart the system. The UPA is part of the Water Recovery System that processes urine into purified water.

Meanwhile, launch of the next Russian module, the eight-ton Mini Research Module-2, is less than a week away. Launch of the new docking port and airlock, known as Poisk, is set for Nov. 10 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Docking with the station is planned for Nov. 12.

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