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Station’s Orbit Raised; Crew Conducts Research

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri May 6, 2011 3:38 am via: NASA
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The International Space Station increased its orbit Thursday morning using the thrusters of the docked “Johannes Kepler” Automated Transfer Vehicle-2. The burn began at 7:20 a.m. EDT and lasted four minutes and three seconds.

The reboost puts the orbiting complex at the correct altitude for the undocking of the Soyuz TMA-20 that will carry Expedition 27 Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Flight Engineers Cady Coleman and Paolo Nespoli to a landing in Kazakhstan on May 23.

Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Andrey Borisenko worked with the Bioemulsion experiment, which looks at the biomass of microorganisms and biologically active substances. Researchers hope to use the observations to produce microorganisms, biomasses and biologically active substances in highly efficient and ecologically safe ways.

Flight Engineer Ron Garan replaced and reconfigured equipment inside the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR), which is part of the Fluids and Combustion Facility inside the Destiny laboratory. The CIR is an experiment facility that helps researchers study how different materials combust in the microgravity environment aboard the station and can be operated by crew members or remotely by researchers on Earth.

Coleman completed a session with VO2max, an experiment that studies changes in the astronauts’ 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.

Kondratyev spent time working with the Pneumocard experiment. This experiment is an integrated study of the cardiovascular systems of crew members in various phases of long duration spaceflight. He also conducted routine maintenance activities and inspections in the Russian segment of the station.

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 provided a flexible schedule this week to stay in contact with his family.

Meanwhile, at the Kennedy Space Center, a new Load Control Assembly 2 (LCA-2) box was installed into space shuttle Endeavour Wednesday morning, and technicians are retesting the system before Endeavour’s next launch attempt is scheduled. Currently, Endeavour’s no earlier than launch date remains May 10.

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