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Station Crew Wraps Up Busy Week

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Nov 20, 2010 9:22 am via: NASA
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After a week which included a Russian spacewalk, maintenance work on the environmental control and life support system and a variety of research opportunities, the Expedition 25 crew aboard the International Space Station turned its focus Friday to the upcoming departure of three of its members.

Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineers Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin continued ongoing preparations for their departure, packing items and reviewing undocking procedures. They are set to depart the station and return to Earth Nov. 25 at 11:46 p.m. EST (Nov. 26 at 10:46 a.m. Kazakhstan time) aboard their Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft.

The Soyuz undocking will mark the beginning of Expedition 26 led by Commander Scott Kelly, currently an Expedition 25 flight engineer. Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka will continue their stay aboard the station with Kelly.

The crew members continued maintenance work, which began earlier this week, and troubleshooting procedures that finally resulted in the removal of an adsorbent bed inside the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA). Part of the environmental control and life support system, the CDRA removes carbon dioxide and trace contaminants from the station’s atmosphere allowing crew members to breathe safely. A replacement bed is due to arrive on the space shuttle Discovery during STS-133.

Research opportunities included a session with the VO2max experiment, which studies changes in the astronauts’ aerobic capacity during long-duration spaceflight. NASA is interested in tracking these changes because a reduction in maximum oxygen uptake directly impacts a crew member’s ability to perform strenuous activities such as spacewalks or emergency operations. Data from this research also may provide valuable insight into the aerobic capacity of teams in closed environments on Earth, such as arctic bases and submarines.

After the completion of a successful six-hour, 27-minute spacewalk Monday by Yurchikhin and Skripochka, the station crew members worked throughout the week to clean up the Orlan spacesuits, organize tools and reconfigure the Pirs docking compartment’s airlock.

Over the weekend, the crew members will complete their daily physical exercise routines to counteract the effects of long-term exposure to weightlessness in space. They also will enjoy some off-duty time, continue regular maintenance duties and have an opportunity to speak with family members.

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