Headlines > News > Crew Prepares to Unpack Poisk

Crew Prepares to Unpack Poisk

Published by Matt on Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:42 am via: source
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The Expedition 21 crew of the International Space Station wrapped up a busy week Friday that saw the docking of a new research module and preparations for the arrival of space shuttle Atlantis.

The hatches to the newly-arrived Russian Mini-Research Module 2, or Poisk, were opened at 7:17 a.m. EST, enabling Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev to enter for the first time to take air samples, hook up air ducts and photograph a scuff mark left by the docking mechanism probe on the receiving cone. Poisk, packed with 1,800 pounds of cargo, will be used as an additional docking port for Russian vehicles, as an airlock for Russian-based spacewalks and as a platform for external science experiments.

European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne, Expedition 21 commander, holds a stowage bag containing various beverages in the Unity node of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne, Expedition 21 commander, holds a stowage bag containing various beverages in the Unity node of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko and Suraev will begin unloading cargo from Poisk over the weekend. Poisk launched Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz rocket and docked automatically to the Zvezda service module at 10:41 a.m. Thursday.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Nicole Stott began final preparations for her return to Earth aboard Atlantis, scheduled to launch Monday from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Stott arrived at the orbiting complex on Aug. 30, and her departure will mark the last Expedition crew rotation by a space shuttle.

In addition to providing a ride home for Stott, the STS-129 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.

Flight Engineer Jeff Williams deactivated and stowed hardware for AgCam, the Agriculture Camera experiment sponsored by the University of North Dakota. Positioned in the window of the station’s Destiny laboratory, AgCam is designed to capture images of vegetated areas on the Earth from space to assist farmers, ranchers, foresters, natural resource managers and tribal officials.

Flight Engineer Robert Thirsk set up hardware and video recording equipment for the Bodies in Space Environment (BISE) experiment, which measures the relative importance of visual and body cues to an astronaut’s perception of “up.” Stott and Commander Frank De Winne participated in this session as the test subjects.

De Winne also conducted an amateur radio session, speaking with students at the Salesian Institute of Naples in Italy and answering questions about living and working aboard the space station.

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