Headlines > News > Station Crew Unloads Cargo, Prepares for Shuttle Docking

Station Crew Unloads Cargo, Prepares for Shuttle Docking

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue May 4, 2010 7:42 am via: NASA
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(NASA) – Monday marks the beginning of another busy week aboard the orbiting International Space Station as the Expedition 23 crew unloads cargo from a recently arrived Progress resupply ship and prepares for even more arrivals and departures in the coming weeks.

Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko continue to unload and inventory the 2.6 tons of food, fuel, oxygen, propellant and supplies delivered by the ISS Progress 37. It docked at 2:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, after Commander Oleg Kotov deftly guided the cargo craft to the Pirs docking compartment using TORU, the Russian telerobotically operated rendezvous system. The manually controlled TORU system was called into play when a jet failure on the Progress forced a shutdown of the Kurs automated rendezvous system.

Expedition 23 Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer services the Advanced Plant Experiments on Orbit-Cambium experiment in the Columbus laboratory of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Expedition 23 Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer services the Advanced Plant Experiments on Orbit-Cambium experiment in the Columbus laboratory of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Progress 37 joins another Russian resupply vehicle, Progress 36, which is docked at the aft port of the Zvezda service module. Kotov spent part of Monday loading trash and other unneeded items into Progress 36 for disposal when the craft undocks May 10 and is later deorbited to burn in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Kotov also joined Flight Engineers T.J. Creamer and Soichi Noguchi as they conducted leak checks of their Russian Sokol spacesuits, which they will next don on May 12 when they fly their Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft from the Zarya nadir port to the Zvezda aft port vacated by Progress 36.

The relocation of Soyuz TMA-17 sets the stage for the next addition to the space station: the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1, also known as Rassvet, which will be delivered by the STS-132 crew aboard space shuttle Atlantis and permanently installed on the Zarya module. Rassvet, which means dawn in Russian, will provide additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian spacecraft.

With Atlantis’ launch set for May 14, the Expedition 23 crew spent some time Monday reviewing timelines for the joint operations that begin when the shuttle docks to the station May 16. In addition to delivering Rassvet, the STS-132 crew will bring more station hardware and conduct three spacewalks to stage spare components on the station’s exterior.

Even with all the preparations for arrivals and relocations, the Expedition 23 crew still had time to conduct science investigations Monday.

Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson spent several hours working with the Intravenous Fluids Generation payload. This experiment will demonstrate a prototype system for producing sterile water that meets requirements for medical treatment and care capabilities during long-term exploration missions.

Meanwhile, Creamer worked with the Transgenic Arabidopsis Gene Expression System experiment, as he harvested Arabidopsis thaliana plants, commonly known as thale cress, and prepared the next batch of plants to be grown. This investigation seeks to understand spaceflight-induced molecular changes in gene activity. Thale cress makes a good subject for this type of research because its genome was the first set of plant genes to be fully sequenced by scientists.

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