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Station Crew Prepares for Visiting Vehicles

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue May 11, 2010 9:33 am via: NASA
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(NASA) – Aboard the International Space Station Monday, the Expedition 23 crew members oversaw the undocking of the ISS Progress 36 cargo craft and reviewed procedures for the upcoming relocation of the Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft.

The ISS Progress 36 cargo ship undocked from the aft end of the Zvezda service module at 7:16 a.m. EDT and fired its thrusters to move to a safe distance away from the International Space Station. Russian engineers will conduct systems tests with the craft until it is deorbited around July 1.

The ISS Progress 36 cargo ship is seen shortly after undocking from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The ISS Progress 36 cargo ship is seen shortly after undocking from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The crew spent time reviewing procedures for the undocking of the Soyuz TMA-17 from Zarya’s Earth-facing port on Wednesday. With Commander Oleg Kotov at the controls, alongside fellow crew members Flight Engineers T.J. Creamer and Soichi Noguchi, the TMA-17 will redock to Zvezda’s free aft end port, which previously was home to the Progress 36.

The Soyuz relocation opens up the Earth-facing port of Zarya for the installation of the new Rassvet mini-research module-1. The module will be delivered by space shuttle Atlantis, which is slated to launch Friday on the STS-132 mission. Rassvet, which means “dawn” in Russian, will provide additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian spacecraft.

Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson held a conference with STS-132 crew members on Earth regarding robotics operations for the mission.

Creamer worked with the plant research experiment known as Cambium, which seeks definitive evidence that gravity has a direct effect on the cells located under the inner bark where secondary growth occurs in willow seedlings.

Meanwhile, Noguchi worked on a second plant experiment called Waving and Coiling of Arabidopsis at Different Gravity Levels. Also known as WAICO, this European Space Agency experiment studies the interaction of circumnutation (the successive bowing or bending in different directions of the growing tip of the stems and roots) and gravitropism (a tendency to grow toward or away from gravity) in microgravity and Earth gravity of Arabidopsis thaliana.

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