Headlines > News > Station Crew Prepares for Arrival of New Spacecraft, Tests Station System as Mission Control Continues Monitoring Debris

Station Crew Prepares for Arrival of New Spacecraft, Tests Station System as Mission Control Continues Monitoring Debris

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Nov 6, 2009 10:31 pm via: source
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(NASA) – The International Space Station crew was notified this afternoon of a possible close encounter with a piece of space debris. The time of closest approach of the debris is expected at 10:48 p.m. EST.

NASA uses an imaginary “box” around the space station when assessing the risk of space debris passing close to the orbiting lab. Sometimes these encounters are known well in advance and NASA has time to maneuver the station slightly to keep the debris outside of the “box.” Other times, debris is identified too late for the station to plan an avoidance maneuver. For today‚Äôs event, the available data suggests that the space debris might come close enough to the station to require the crew to take temporary shelter for a few minutes in their respective Soyuz vehicles. NASA worked with its Russian partners to formulate a plan that would have the crew wake up tonight around 10 p.m. EST, then move into their Soyuz vehicles until the time of closest approach of the object, which is estimated to be about 5 centimeters long, to pass the vicinity of the station.

Station crew members (from left) Nicole Stott, Frank De Winne and Robert Thirsk talk to Belgian media during a European Space Agency in-flight event. Credit: NASA TV

Station crew members (from left) Nicole Stott, Frank De Winne and Robert Thirsk talk to Belgian media during a European Space Agency in-flight event. Credit: NASA TV

Later today NASA will brief the crew with the latest information about today’s passing space debris and let them know if they’ll need to enter their Soyuz capsules tonight as a precautionary measure while the debris passes.

If the tracking data indicates any extra precautions are needed updates will be provided on the web and NASA TV as appropriate.

The station crew prepared Friday for the arrival of the Russian Mini-Research Module 2 (MRM2) which is scheduled for launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on Nov. 10. The MRM2 will arrive at the station on Nov. 12 docking to the top port of the Zvezda service module.

The crew performed some testing on the Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) which was later shut down. The ground team is currently looking at the data before deciding to restart the UPA.

An experiment that monitors the weakening of heart muscles during long term exposure to the microgravity environment is on hold. Software that had been reloaded for an ultrasound system used in the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment was unable to work properly. Ground controllers are now considering delivering replacement circuit boards on a future flight to the station.

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