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Crew Busy with Spacewalk Preps, Maintenance and Science

Published by Matt on Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:02 pm via: NASA
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After enjoying some time off during a light-duty weekend, the Expedition 24 crew of the International Space Station got back to work Monday, preparing for a series of upcoming spacewalks, conducting routine maintenance and working with science experiments.

Expedition 24 Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock, Tracy Caldwell Dyson (center) and Shannon Walker pose for a photo with an American flag while aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Expedition 24 Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock, Tracy Caldwell Dyson (center) and Shannon Walker pose for a photo with an American flag while aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Fyodor Yurchikhin reviewed procedures and the timeline for a spacewalk scheduled for July 26 that will outfit the recently installed Rassvet module with automated Kurs rendezvous and docking capability for approaching Russian vehicles.

Flight Engineer Doug Wheelock performed routine scrubbing on the cooling loops in the U.S. spacesuits that he and Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson will wear during a spacewalk scheduled for August 5.

During the spacewalk, they are slated to install a power and data grapple fixture on the Zarya module to which the Canadarm2 or Dextre robotic device can one day be mounted, providing new spacewalk access capability. They also will set up cabling for the installation of the Permanent Multipurpose Module that will arrive aboard space shuttle Discovery during STS-133 mission in November.

Commander Alexander Skvortsov worked in the Russian segment of the station, performing routine maintenance of its systems and collecting air and radiation samples for analysis. He also had time to shoot a film documenting station payload operations.

Caldwell Dyson spent time setting up and activating the Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM) experiment. EarthKAM, an education activity, allows middle school students to program a digital camera aboard the station to photograph a variety of geographical targets for study in the classroom. Photos are made available online for viewing and study by participating schools around the world. Educators use the images for projects involving Earth Science, geography, physics and social science.

Flight Engineer Shannon Walker collected environmental samples at various locations on the station for analysis and participated in a private medical conference with flight surgeons on the ground.

The Oxygen Generation System (OGS) in the U.S. section of the station is currently down. The leading cause of the system’s failure is believed to be contamination of the membranes in the hydrogen (H2) dome. The pH of the water in the loop is around 4.0, which is causing a breakdown of some of the materials used in the construction of the dome leading to the contamination of the membranes. Teams in Houston are working on a plan to scrub the recirculation water loop before replacing the H2 dome with a spare kept aboard the station. The water scrub procedure also will be used to bring the pH up to a more neutral level. The oxygen level on the station will be maintained via Elektron and Progress tanks. Procedures to restore the OGS are expected to begin by the end of the week.

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