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Robotics, Spacewalk Preparations Keep Station Crew Busy

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:58 pm via: NASA
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(NASA) – Soaring high above the Earth in their orbiting home, the International Space Station’s Expedition 22 crew members began a two-day operation Monday to use Canadarm2 to move the External Stowage Platform-3 (ESP-3) spare parts depot from the P3 truss to the S3 truss. The spacefarers also prepared for an upcoming spacewalk.

Flight Engineers Soichi Noguchi and T.J. Creamer worked together at the robotic work station in the U.S. Destiny laboratory to operate the station’s robotic arm. They detached ESP-3 from the P3 truss and moved it to an overnight park position on a truss cargo attachment bracket. The operation, which is set to conclude Tuesday, will free up the ESP-3 location on the P3 truss for the installation of the Express Logistics Carrier-3 spare parts platform later this year on the STS-134 mission of space shuttle Endeavour.

Expedition 22 Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi works over the weekend with the Marangoni experiment in the Japanese Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 22 Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi works over the weekend with the Marangoni experiment in the Japanese Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Maxim Suraev completed Orlan spacesuit preparations as they geared up for a Tuesday dress rehearsal of Thursday’s spacewalk. During the spacewalk Suraev and Kotov will set up the Poisk Russian Mini-Research Module 2 for the relocation of the Soyuz TMA-16. On Jan. 21 Suraev and Commander Jeff Williams will undock the Soyuz TMA-16 from the aft end of the Zvezda Service Module then dock to Poisk shortly after.

In addition, Noguchi participated in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency experiment known as BIORHYTHM. The biomedical experiment involves wearing an electrocardiograph for 24 hours while it takes readings around the clock to measure shifts in the human biological clock.

He also completed work he had begun over the weekend on the Marangoni experiment, a fluid physics experiment that observes the flow of a fluid driven by surface tension.

Williams performed two reverse flushes of the Water Processor Assembly, or WPA, which collects and cleans waste water. The WPA and the Urine Processor Assembly make up the orbital outpost’s Water Recovery System.

Over the weekend, engineers made significant progress toward a solution to a problem with high-pressure ammonia jumper hoses being prepared for launch and installation by the STS-130 crew of Endeavour in February. Four hoses, which will be used to connect the new Tranquility module to the International Space Station’s cooling system, are to be installed and activated by spacewalkers during Endeavour’s mission. One of the hoses failed during a prelaunch test Thursday.

NASA and the station’s prime contractor, Boeing, are working simultaneously on three options, at least one of which may support a target launch of Endeavour on Feb. 7. The options include modifying the hose design that failed during testing, creating a second set from ground spares for hoses currently on the station, or executing a minimal activation of Tranquility with no active cooling that would require the hoses to be flown on a later flight and delay full activation. NASA managers will review these options and make decisions later this week.

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