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Station Crew Receives Call From Russian Prime Minister

Published by Matt on Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:29 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 26 crew of the International Space Station received a call from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev on Tuesday. Mr. Putin was in the control center outside Moscow chairing a commission involved in formulating commemorative events to honor the 50th anniversary of the launch of Yuri Gagarin on April 12.

During the six-minute call, Putin expressed his best wishes and prayers to Commander Scott Kelly’s brother, Mark, and for the recovery of Mark’s wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Putin then invited the crew to be in Moscow in April for the Gagarin anniversary events. Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri gave Putin a brief synopsis of the work being conducted onboard, and Flight Engineer Dmitry Kondratyev expressed his thanks for Putin’s support and interest in the space station.

Earlier Tuesday, Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka and Kondratyev conducted additional preparatory work for the spacewalk they will perform on Jan. 21 to continue the external outfitting of the Russian segment of the station. The two cosmonauts configured communication systems and reviewed the worksites through the station windows.

Afterward, in preparation for the undocking of the ISS Progress 40 cargo craft on Jan. 24, Skripochka joined Kaleri for a checkout of TORU, the Russian telerobotically operated rendezvous system. The Progress, laden with trash and unneeded items, will be deorbited after its undocking for a destructive reentry in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli and Cady Coleman continued their training for the upcoming rendezvous and grapple of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s H-II Transfer Vehicle 2 on Jan. 27. The crew will use the station’s robotic arm to berth the cargo craft — known as Kounotori, meaning “white stork” in Japanese – to the Earth-facing docking port of the station’s Harmony module.

Kelly 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.

All six crew members participated in a drill to practice initial crew actions in response to a fire aboard the orbiting complex.

Kelly, Coleman and Nespoli took a break from their work to talk with students at the Central Florida Aerospace Academy in Lakeland, Fla. The astronauts answered questions about living and working aboard the orbiting complex and the future of space exploration.

The Expedition 26 crew aboard the station observed the National Moment of Silence Monday in honor of the victims of the Tucson, Arizona shooting Saturday.

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