Headlines > News > Soyuz Set for Wednesday Launch

Soyuz Set for Wednesday Launch

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:21 am via: NASA
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Expedition 26 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka tackled a variety of research and maintenance tasks Tuesday aboard the International Space Station as they await the arrival of three additional flight engineers set to launch Wednesday aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.

Kelly performed routine maintenance on the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device or ARED, a weightlifting machine that simulates the pull of gravity. ARED is just one of a suite of exercise devices available to the crew for a daily two-and-a-half-hour exercise regimen to counteract the loss of bone density and muscle mass that occurs during long-term spaceflight.

Afterward Kelly continued preparations for the arrival of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s H-II Transfer Vehicle 2 (HTV-2), set to launch Jan. 20. Working in the Kibo laboratory, Kelly checked out the command console that the crew can use to take control of the automated rendezvous process if needed when the unpiloted cargo craft arrives at the station.

Kelly took a break from his work for a pair of in-flight interviews with CNN Radio’s Jim Ribble and Tom Zizka of KRIV-TV in Houston. The commander answered questions about life and work aboard the orbital outpost.

In the Russian segment of the station, Kaleri and Skripochka began their workday with an experiment that assesses a cosmonaut’s ability to perform tasks in weightless conditions. The two cosmonauts also worked together on a study of the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the cardiovascular system.

Throughout the day Tuesday, the station’s residents had several opportunities to take photographs of the Earth below as they continue to document the condition of their home planet. Among the targets suggested by researchers for photography were the glaciers of the Southern and Northern Patagonian Ice Fields of the Andes Mountains in South America.

During his stay aboard the station, Kelly will post some of his photographs of Earth on Twitter for an online geography trivia game.

Back at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency received their final approval to begin their five-month mission aboard the station from Russian officials. The three will board the Soyuz TMA-20 Wednesday for a launch at 2:09 p.m. EST (1:09 a.m. Thursday, Kazakhstan time).

Live NASA TV coverage of the crew’s pre-launch activities begins at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, followed by launch coverage at 1:15 p.m.

Coleman, Kondratyev and Nespoli will join the Expedition 26 crew as flight engineers after docking with the station at 3:12 p.m. Friday.

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