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Progress Undocking Preps, Science and Maintenance for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:07 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 27 crew members aboard the International Space Station made final preparations for the departure of a Russian cargo ship and took part in a variety of scientific research and maintenance activities Thursday.

Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev loaded trash and other unneeded items into the ISS Progress 41 cargo craft before closing and securing its hatches for the final time. The Progress is scheduled to undock from the station’s Pirs docking compartment Friday at 7:41 a.m. EDT. Once undocked, it will move a safe distance away from the station for a few days of engineering tests before being deorbited by Russian flight controllers for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere on April 26.

Flight Engineer Ron Garan completed a session with VO2max, an experiment that studies changes in the astronaut’s aerobic capacity during long-duration spaceflight. Researchers are interested in tracking these changes because a reduction in maximum oxygen uptake directly impacts a crew member’s ability to perform strenuous activities such as spacewalks or emergency operations.

Inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory, Flight Engineer Cady Coleman conducted maintenance on the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility for a study of the Marangoni effect, which is the flow of liquids caused by surface tension.

Flight Engineer Andrey Borisenko performed maintenance on the Regul, the component of the Russian segment communications system that supports voice communication and commanding to the segment.

Garan, Samokutyaev and Borisenko also had some time set aside for station adaptation and orientation activities as they adjust to their new home aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli performed maintenance on the station’s Waste & Hygiene Compartment following a shut-down of the system Wednesday. Nespoli managed to get it back in operation after he replaced the pre-treat tank and started pre-treat fluid flowing into the dose pump once again.

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