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Experiments and Progress Departure Preps for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:14 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 29 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station worked with a variety of science experiments Thursday as preparations continued for the departure of the ISS Progress 42 resupply craft.

Commander Mike Fossum replaced and reconfigured equipment inside the Combustion Integrated Rack, or 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.

Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa worked in the Japanese Kibo laboratory, swapping out heaters associated with the Gradient Heating Furnace, or GHF, in the Kobairo Rack. The GHF is a vacuum furnace that contains three heating blocks that can be independently controlled, and various temperature profiles can be realized. It is mainly used for high quality crystal growth experiments using unidirectional solidification.

Flight Engineer Sergei Volkov worked inside the Poisk module conducting the Coulomb Crystal experiment. The Russian investigation observes how a magnetic field can control materials that do not mix or react. Results may have applications for advanced solar batteries, cleaning dust from microchips and designing nano-crystals.

Volkov also prepared the ISS Progress 42 cargo craft for its upcoming departure, loading the supply ship with trash and gear set for disposal. It is scheduled to undock from the station Oct. 29 for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean. The ISS Progress 45 cargo craft will launch a day later and dock Nov. 2 to the Pirs docking compartment delivering fresh supplies to outfit the crew and station.

The station raised its orbit Wednesday after the Zvezda service module fired its engines for 1 minute, 53 seconds. The reboost puts the station in a good configuration for a second orbital boost on Oct. 26. Both firings will put the station at the proper altitude for the upcoming dockings of the ISS Progress 45 supply ship and the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft carrying three new Expedition 29 crew members.

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