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Station Crew Checks Out Spacesuits, Conducts Robotics

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:57 am via: NASA
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(NASA) – The five Expedition 22 crew members aboard the International Space Station tackled a busy schedule Tuesday, as they worked with the robotic arm to relocate a stowage platform and donned spacesuits for a thorough checkout.

Following the crew’s daily planning conference with teams on the ground, Commander Jeff Williams kicked off the workday with a leak check of the Water Processor Assembly, which along with the Urine Processor Assembly makes up the station’s advanced recycling system known as the Water Recovery System.

Expedition 22 Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov works with spacewalk equipment and Russian Orlan spacesuits in the Pirs docking compartment of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Expedition 22 Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov works with spacewalk equipment and Russian Orlan spacesuits in the Pirs docking compartment of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Meanwhile, Flight Engineers Maxim Suraev and Oleg Kotov put on their Russian Orlan spacesuits and checked them out in the Pirs docking compartment in preparation for Thursday’s spacewalk to outfit the new Poisk module. Both cosmonauts reported slightly higher than usual oxygen levels, similar to what was experienced by Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka during a spacewalk in June, but Russian specialists have determined that the suits are performing safely.

Thursday’s excursion marks the third spacewalk for Kotov, who made two spacewalks in 2007 totaling 11 hours and two minutes as an Expedition 15 flight engineer, and the first for Suraev. The spacewalkers will ready the Mini-Research Module 2, known as Poisk, for future Russian vehicle dockings. Suraev and Williams will be the first to use the new docking port when they relocate their Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft from the aft port of the Zvezda service module on Jan. 21.

Flight Engineers Soichi Noguchi and T.J. Creamer wrapped up their work with Canadarm2 to move the External Stowage Platform-3 (ESP-3) spare parts depot from its overnight parked position on a cargo attachment system to its final location on the S3 truss. On Monday, Noguchi and Creamer used the robotic arm to remove ESP-3 from the P3 truss, freeing up that location for the installation of the Express Logistics Carrier-3, which will be delivered later this year on the STS-134 shuttle mission.

The station’s residents also had several opportunities for Earth observation and photography as they orbited the world every 90 minutes. Among the sites suggested for photography were several capital cities, including Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, Males in the Republic of Maldives and Kuwait City on the northwestern Persian Gulf shoreline of Kuwait.

Preparations continue at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the upcoming launch of space shuttle Endeavour on its mission to the station. One of the primary objectives of the STS-130/20A mission is the delivery and activation of the new Tranquility module. Among the activation tasks are the installation of four ammonia jumper hoses that will connect Tranquility’s cooling system to the station’s cooling system. While undergoing final flight testing at a California subcontractor’s factory on Jan. 7, one of the flight hoses failed.

Tuesday, station managers decided to continue working toward a Feb. 7 launch with full mission content. They selected an alternate hose design, assembled from shorter hoses that had been previously certified and tested for use aboard the station, as the primary jumper. They also accelerated development of a redesigned set of hoses based on the design that failed for use in the event a problem arises with the new primary design. They discontinued discussions related to partial activation of the Tranquility module.

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