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Station Crew Commemorates Spaceflight Anniversaries

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:11 pm via: NASA
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Tuesday marked a day of commemorative activities aboard the International Space Station as the six Expedition 27 crew members honored the 50th anniversary of the launch of Yuri Gagarin to become the first human in space and the 30th anniversary of the launch of Columbia on the first space shuttle mission.

The Russian crew members activated a small satellite called Radioskaf, which began transmitting congratulatory messages recorded and stored in the satellite through the station’s ham radio system. Radioskaf will be deployed during a Russian spacewalk in July.

The entire crew sent down greetings to participants in the Cosmonautics Day celebrations in Russia commemorating Gagarin’s trip into space on April 12, 1961.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent his own congratulatory message to the crew as he visited the Mission Control Center in Korolev, just outside Moscow. During his conversation with the crew Medvedev remarked, “Over the last 50 years we could not even have imagined our lives without space exploration, without your mission, without the achievements and the practical use that comes from your work on orbit.”

All six astronauts and cosmonauts also discussed their thoughts on the milestone anniversaries with reporters from CNN and the New York Times.

Later, the Expedition 27 crew participated in another in-flight news conference with reporters around the world. During the event, Flight Engineers Ron Garan and Alexander Samokutyaev offered words of support and encouragement to their colleagues at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Japanese people for the losses suffered during the recent earthquake and tsunami.

While Tuesday was largely an off-duty day aboard the station, the crew spent some time conducting a checkout of the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device, or ARED, following the replacement of some parts over the weekend. ARED is one of several exercise devices available to the crew as part of a daily two-hour exercise regimen to reduce the loss of bone density and muscle mass that typically occurs during long-duration spaceflight.

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