Headlines > News > Station Trio Prepares for Departure While Shuttle Work and Science Continue

Station Trio Prepares for Departure While Shuttle Work and Science Continue

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu May 5, 2011 7:19 am via: NASA
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Three Expedition 27 crew members are preparing to end their stay at the International Space Station. On May 23, Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Flight Engineers Cady Coleman and Paolo Nespoli will enter the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft and undock for a landing in Kazakhstan.

Flight Engineers Ron Garan, Alexander Samokutyaev and Andrey Borisenko will remain behind becoming the Expedition 28 crew. Borisenko will become station commander when the Soyuz TMA-20 undocks from the Rassvet mini-research module ending Expedition 27.

Kondratyev, the out-going station commander, conducted crew handover activities with Samokutyaev and Borisenko Wednesday morning.

Paolo Nespoli’s mother died Tuesday. The station crew joined with mission control centers around the world for a moment of silence Wednesday morning in her honor. The crew downlinked live video of Italy as the station flew overhead 200 miles up. The European Space Agency astronaut from Italy has been able to stay in contact with his family. Mission Control provided a flexible schedule for him early this week that focused on packing the European cargo vehicle Johannes Kepler for its June departure.

Nespoli and Coleman spent time Wednesday working in the Japanese Kibo laboratory. The duo worked on separate tasks as Nespoli set up a router and Ethernet cable. He performed a series of laptop upgrades that are part of a larger overall upgrade to the station’s laptop computer network. Coleman worked to remove and replace a cable on the Kobairo rack, which is a Japanese facility that studies combustion in microgravity.

Flight Engineer Ron Garan trained on the robotics workstation inside the Destiny lab for the transfer work planned during STS-134. The station’s Canadarm2 will grapple Endeavour’s orbiter boom sensor system and install it on the station’s truss structure.

Garan worked inside the Johannes Kepler Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-2) conducting final cargo transfers. The ATV-2 also will fire its engines Thursday morning for four minutes, three seconds. The maneuver will lift the station’s orbit placing it in the proper phase for the Soyuz TMA-20’s May 23 undocking.

Science activities aboard the orbital laboratory included collecting hair follicles for storage inside a biological freezer. The hair samples will be analyzed for the effects of microgravity on long-duration crew members. An ongoing experiment that uses a personal electrocardiograph to track a crew member’s heart performance over the course of 24 hours also was set up, with Coleman as the test subject.

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