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Station Crew Focuses on Science, Awaits Shuttle

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue May 3, 2011 8:04 am via: NASA
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After a weekend of relaxation, the Expedition 27 crew focused on science Monday, and began unloading a recently arrived cargo craft, as they awaited the launch of the STS-134 space shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

Expedition 27 Flight Engineer Flight Engineer Ron Garan worked on the Marangoni experiment, a fluid physics experiment that observes the flow of a fluid driven by surface tension.

Flight Engineer Cady Coleman participated in an experiment that tests whether drugs known as biophosphonates could serve as an additional countermeasure to fend off bone density loss in long-term space travelers.

Paolo Nespoli, also a flight engineer, spent time upgrading hard drives on some of the orbital complex’s laptop computers in anticipation of coming server software upgrades.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev worked with the Russian experiment known as CASCADE, which investigates cultivation processes of micro-organism, animal and human cells in microgravity. Station Commander Dmitry Kondratyev took photos of the experiment.

Flight Engineer Andrey Borisenko used the biotech procedure ASEPTIC, sterilizing the equipment, taking air and surface samples to determine the degree of sterilization of a Russian glovebox used for CASCADE. ASEPTIC evaluates the reliability and effectiveness of methods and equipment used to provide aseptic conditions for on-orbit biotechnological experiments.

The crew also opened the hatches and gained entry to the Progress 42 resupply craft that docked to the Pirs port on Friday, and began transferring the supplies and equipment inside to the station.

Technicians and engineers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida have identified the likely source of what caused heaters on a fuel line for space shuttle Endeavour’s auxiliary power unit-1 (APU-1) to fail on Friday, scrubbing the first launch attempt for the STS-134 mission. The failure appears to be a power problem within the aft load control assembly-2 (ALCA-2), a box of switches controlling power feeds.

Launch of space shuttle Endeavour is now set for no earlier than May 10.

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