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Station Crew Repairs Electrical System, Preps for Reboost

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:03 am via: NASA
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Marking their 131st day aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum and Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa and Sergei Volkov spent Tuesday conducting electrical repairs, participating in experiments and preparing for a reboost to increase the altitude of their orbital home.

Shortly after their scheduled wakeup at 2 a.m. EDT, Fossum and Furukawa began their workday drawing samples of their own blood for an ongoing study of the consequences of long-duration spaceflight on cardiovascular health. Furukawa stored the samples in the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS to preserve them until they can be returned to Earth for analysis.

Furukawa later inspected the station’s exercise bike, the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization, for signs of wear. He also inserted six new seedling germination flasks in the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus for an experiment that seeks to determine whether seed roots and shoots can be encouraged to grow in a particular direction in the absence of gravity.

Precautionary maintenance on the station’s electrical system consumed much of Fossum’s day as he replaced a failed Remote Power Control Module (RPCM) that provides power to a smoke detector and several other components in the U.S. Destiny laboratory. On Monday, Fossum replaced a failed RPCM that provides redundant power to EXPRESS Rack 2.

Meanwhile, Volkov continued loading unneeded hardware and trash for disposal in the ISS Progress 42 cargo craft docked to the station’s Pirs docking compartment. The unpiloted supply ship, which arrived at the station in late April, is scheduled to undock Oct. 29 at 5:04 a.m. EDT for a destructive re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere. Its departure will clear the way for the arrival of the next cargo craft, ISS Progress 45, on Nov. 2.

Volkov also oversaw activities associated with a planned reboost of the station. The engines of the Zvezda service module will be fired at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday for 1 minute, 53 seconds to begin putting the station in the optimal altitude for the docking of Progress 45 as well as the arrival of the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft carrying Expedition 29 Flight Engineers Dan Burbank, Anatoly Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov on Nov. 16. Wednesday’s reboost, followed by a final reboost Oct. 26, will raise the station’s altitude by two miles.

The station’s residents had several opportunities Tuesday to observe and photograph the condition of our home planet as they orbit the Earth every 90 minutes. Among the targets suggested by researchers were a large mass of smog moving slowly west into the Arabian Sea from the Indian subcontinent and Dili, the capital of East Timor in Southeast Asia.

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