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Space Station Crew Performs Research

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed May 4, 2011 8:33 am via: NASA
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The astronauts and cosmonauts of the International Space Station’s Expedition 27 crew, led by Commander Dmitry Kondratyev, enjoyed a fairly light day of duties Tuesday as they focused on fluids research and routine maintenance.

Originally the crew expected to be busy with joint operations with the STS-134 crew of space shuttle Endeavour this week, but that launch was delayed until no earlier than May 10 as technicians at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida work to replace the Load Control Assembly-2 box in the orbiter’s aft compartment.

Flight Engineers Ron Garan and Cady Coleman set up the Capillary Flow Experiment for an in-depth study of capillary flow in interior corners. Results from this experiment will improve computer models used to design fluid transfer systems on future spacecraft and will lead to improvements in system reliability with reductions in system mass and complexity.

Coleman later cleaned a ventilation fan in the station’s Tranquility node, assuring the essential circulation of fresh air in the absence of gravity.

With Garan lending a helping hand, Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli spent much of his afternoon unpacking additional cargo from the “Johannes Kepler” Automated Transfer Vehicle-2 and filling the emptied stowage racks with trash and unneeded items for disposal. The European Space Agency supply ship, which delivered seven tons of cargo when it docked to the aft port of the Zvezda service module on Feb. 24, is scheduled to undock from the station on June 20 for a destructive re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere.

In the Russian segment of the station, Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev worked with an experiment known as Kaskad, which investigates the cultivation processes of cells in microgravity. Andrey Borisenko, also a flight engineer, performed routine maintenance on the life support system of the service module.

The station’s residents also had several opportunities to observe and photograph our home planet as they orbit the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of 220 miles. Among the sites suggested by researchers for photography Tuesday were the capital city of Tashkent in Uzbekistan and Sierra del Tigre, an isolated mountain range in northeastern Mexico known for its distinct flora and fauna.

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