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Station Crew Conducts Emergency Drill, Repairs Freezer

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Dec 4, 2010 8:51 am via: NASA
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The three Expedition 26 crew members aboard the International Space Station – Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka — conducted an emergency drill Friday, simulating what would happen in the unlikely event of a sudden depressurization of one of the station’s modules. Afterward the three tagged up with flight controllers for a debrief of the drill.

Kelly also set up the Capillary Flow Experiment hardware for further study of capillary flows and flows of fluids in containers with complex geometries. Results from this ongoing experiment will refine current computer models used by designers of low gravity fluid systems, leading to improved fluid transfer systems on future spacecraft.

Meanwhile Kaleri cleaned and inspected the hatch cover sealing mechanism in the Pirs docking compartment where the ISS Progress 40 cargo craft is currently docked. Fellow cosmonaut Skripochka spent much of his day in the Rassvet module, performing maintenance on the smoke detection system and preparing circuits for the connection of a video camera.

Overnight an electronics unit on the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS 2 failed, leaving the freezer, which houses samples from various experiments aboard the station, without power for about five and a half hours. The crew replaced the electronics unit after awakening, and no science samples were lost. The freezer is now running normally.

A new trio of Expedition 26 flight engineers, NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency, arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday to begin their final pre-launch preparations. They will launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft Dec. 15 (Dec. 16, Baikonur time) and join Kelly, Kaleri and Skripochka aboard the station after docking Dec. 17.

NASA managers have targeted the launch of space shuttle Discovery’s STS-133 mission to the station for no earlier than Feb. 3. During Discovery’s final spaceflight, the STS-133 crew will deliver the Permanent Multipurpose Module, which will be attached to the Earth-facing side of the Unity module. Discovery also will carry critical spare components, the Express Logistics Carrier-4 and Robonaut 2, the first human-like robot in space.

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