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Station Crew Busy with Science and Maintenance

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:34 am via: NASA
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Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Max Suraev of the International Space Station crew were focused on scientific experimentation and maintenance Wednesday.

Williams worked with the Advanced Plant EXperiments on Orbit – Cambium (APEX-Cambium) experiment. APEX-Cambium uses willow plants flown on the International Space Station to better understand the fundamental processes by which plants produce cellulose and lignin, the two main structural materials found in plant matter. Understanding the role of gravity in wood formation is expected to enable wiser management of forests for carbon sequestration as well as better utilization of trees for wood products.

Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams conducts a daily status check of the Advanced Plant Experiments on Orbit (APEX) experiment in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams conducts a daily status check of the Advanced Plant Experiments on Orbit (APEX) experiment in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

Williams also worked with the Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts’ Central Nervous System (ALTEA) experiment that measures details about the cosmic radiation passing through a crew member’s head. ALTEA provides in-depth information on the radiation experienced by crew members and its impact on their nervous systems and visual perception.

In the Russian segment of the station, Suraev performed a routine inspection of the Elektron oxygen generation system and used a monitoring kit to check the status of oxygen and carbon dioxide onboard. He also performed an inspection of the Russian water recovery system.

Williams and Suraev also completed some maintenance on the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System, or TVIS, by replacing and cleaning its parts and installing a new battery.

Meanwhile at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi are making final preparations for their launch Sunday aboard the Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft. After docking with the station on Dec. 22, the trio will join Williams and Suraev as the newest Expedition 22 crew members.

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