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Station Crew Preps for Spacewalks, Arrival of Cargo Craft

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:31 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 26 crew of the International Space Station conducted experiments and continued spacewalk preparations Tuesday as the pace of activity gears up for the arrival of visiting cargo vehicles and upcoming space shuttle flights.

In the Pirs docking compartment, Flight Engineers Dmitry Kondratyev and Oleg Skripochka donned their Orlan spacesuits for a full checkout of their suits’ systems and communications capability. Their spacewalk to outfit the Russian segment of the station and install a TV camera on the Rassvet module is slated to begin Friday at 9:20 a.m. EST.

Working in the Japanese Kibo module, Commander Scott Kelly set up equipment in the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility for a study of the Marangoni effect, which is the flow of liquids caused by surface tension.

Kelly took a break from his work to speak with Tom Koch of KTRK-TV in Houston and Diane Sawyer of ABC News “Primetime.”

Flight Engineer Cady Coleman spent time with the Capillary Flow Experiment, conducting an interior corner flow test. Results from this ongoing study of capillary flows of fluids in containers with complex geometries will refine current computer models used by designers of low gravity fluid systems, leading to improved fluid transfer systems on future spacecraft.

Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli set up and tested hardware for the Fluids Integrated Rack, a fluid physics research facility designed to host investigations in areas such as colloids, gels, bubbles, wetting and capillary action and phase changes including boiling and cooling. Nespoli also conducted some onboard training for Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue, or SAFER, a small nitrogen-jet thruster that can propel a spacewalker back to the station if the safety tethers are accidentally unlatched.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is scheduled to launch an H-IIB rocket from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at 1:29 a.m. (3:29 p.m. Japan time) on Thursday. The launch vehicle will send the H-II Transfer Vehicle “Kounotori2” into orbit on a week-long rendezvous with the station. “Kounotori” is the Japanese word for white stork, emblematic of delivering happiness and joy. On Jan. 27, Coleman and Nespoli will command the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, to reach out, grapple Kounotori2, and attach it to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module.

On Monday, Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri sealed the hatches to the ISS Progress 40 cargo craft, which is set to undock Sunday and descend into a fiery demise in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. The departure of Progress 40 will clear the docking port on Pirs for the arrival of the next Russian resupply vehicle, ISS Progress 41, on Jan. 29, as it delivers two and a half tons of food, fuel and supplies to the orbiting complex.

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