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Busy Work Week Amidst Preps for Cargo Ship and Spacewalk

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:17 am via: NASA
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The six-member Expedition 26 crew is wrapping up a busy week of science and preparations for the arrival of a Japanese cargo ship. The crew also continues to set up spacesuits and review procedures for a Russian spacewalk scheduled for Jan. 21.

Flight Engineers Dmitry Kondratyev and Oleg Scripochka will exit the Pirs docking compartment next week beginning the first Expedition 26 spacewalk. The cosmonauts will outfit the Russian segment of the space station with science experiments and a video camera.

Of the many experiments taking place onboard the International Space Station, crew members often are a part of the experiment themselves. Researchers on the ground test the effects of microgravity on a crew member’s mental and physical ability during long duration missions. They observe many parameters such as stress, fatigue, visual acuity and the heart.

Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli spent time this week with such an experiment, performing a short reaction task. The test observes a crew member’s performance after changes in sleep schedules or work shifts.

Flight Engineer Catherine Coleman participated in an experiment that studies a decrease in the size of the heart muscle that appears to develop during long space flight mission. Nespoli assisted by operating an ultrasound machine for the exam.

Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri measured the electrical activity in his heart earlier in the week. The test used an electrocardiogram as Kaleri exercised. The periodic test also is conducted when a crew member is at rest.

The H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-2) nicknamed Kuonotori, or “White Stork” in Japanese , is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on Jan. 27. Nespoli and Coleman will operate Canadarm2, the station’s robotic arm, to grapple the free-floating HTV-2 and berth it to the Harmony module.

Nespoli trained with Coleman on Canadarm2 during the week. They reviewed procedures and maneuvers for grappling and berthing the HTV-2 to Harmony.

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