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Fluids Research and Education Round Out Station Crew's Week

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Oct 1, 2011 9:22 am via: NASA
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The three Expedition 29 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station wrapped up a busy workweek Friday following a reboost Thursday to begin placing the station at the right altitude to dock with the next cargo vehicle in November.

Commander Mike Fossum spent much of his day working with the Capillary Flow Experiment, taking a close look at the flow of fluid around the gap between 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.

Fossum also performed POSSUM, short for Payload On-Orbit Still Shots for Utilization and Maintenance, as he took digital photos of payload racks throughout the station on behalf of the next three Expedition 29 crew members bound for the orbiting complex. That trio — NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin — will launch Nov. 14 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and arrive at the station Nov. 16.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa focused on a set of educational activities. After setting up a camcorder, Furukawa performed a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency experiment known as Ink Ball. Later the Japanese astronaut assembled a trundle wheel out of Lego bricks to demonstrate to children and student groups the challenges faced when building things in a weightless environment.

In addition to performing routine maintenance on the life support system in the Russian segment of the station, Flight Engineer Sergei Volkov participated in several experiments. Volkov spent part of his afternoon with the Russalka experiment, which uses a camera equipped with an ultraviolet filter to collect measurements of methane and carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. Later in support of the Seiner ocean observation program he recorded bioluminescent glow in the Indian Ocean with an HDV camcorder.

The station’s residents continued to use their unique vantage point as they orbit the Earth every 90 minutes to observe and document several noteworthy natural phenomena taking place Friday. Researchers advised the crew to keep an eye out for the Aurora Borealis as the station passed over the Northern Hemisphere as well as Hurricane Ophelia churning through the Atlantic.

At 12:45 p.m. EDT Thursday, the engines of the Zvezda service module fired for a two-minute, 49-second reboost of the station’s orbit. The reboost was performed a week earlier than originally planned so it could double as a debris avoidance maneuver to avoid a four-inch-diameter piece of Russian rocket body launched in December 1991. Another reboost is being planned for Oct. 19 or 20 to complete the process of putting the station at the proper altitude for the docking of the ISS Progress 45 cargo craft, which is scheduled to launch Oct. 30 and arrive Nov 2.

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