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Cargo Craft and Crew Return Activities Aboard Station

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed May 11, 2011 6:05 am via: NASA
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The International Space Station’s Expedition 27 astronauts and cosmonauts worked Tuesday to complete the mission of a European cargo craft and continued preparations for the return home of three crew members. The station crew also prepared for the arrival of space shuttle Endeavour, scheduled to launch Monday.

Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Flight Engineers Cady Coleman and Paolo Nespoli, who arrived on the orbiting complex on Dec. 17, are scheduled to board their Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft on the evening of May 23 and undock for a landing in the steppe of Kazakhstan. The trio worked Tuesday to gather and pack items to carry back to Earth aboard the Soyuz.

Before departing, Kondratyev will hand over command to Andrey Borisenko who will remain aboard the station with Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Ron Garan as the Expedition 28 crew. Three additional crew members, Flight Engineers Sergei Volkov, Mike Fossum and Satoshi Furukawa are scheduled to launch to the station June 7 aboard the Soyuz TMA-02M.

As the “Johannes Kepler” Automated Transfer Vehicle-2 nears the end of its mission to the space station, Garan and Nespoli spent much of Tuesday morning loading it with trash and other 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.

Garan continued his efforts with the cargo craft into the afternoon, taking a short break to speak with students at Mount Carmel Academy in Houston over ham radio.

Meanwhile, Nespoli joined up with Coleman to transfer contingency water containers from the Japanese Kibo module to the Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module.

In the Russian segment of the station, Samokutyaev focused on several experiments including Tipologia, a study of the preservation of adaptive control skills in cosmonauts during spaceflight. Borisenko spent most of his day replacing a smoke detector in the Zarya module.

The station’s residents also had several opportunities to observe and photograph our home planet as they orbit the Earth every 90 minutes. Among the sites suggested by researchers for photography Tuesday were the capital city of Copenhagen in Denmark and the Charlevoix crater in Quebec, Canada, the site of meteorite impact around 350 million years ago.

NASA managers have set the liftoff of space shuttle Endeavour for 8:56 a.m. EDT Monday. The STS-134 crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and critical supplies to the space station, including two communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and additional parts for the Dextre robot.

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