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Station Crew Prepares for Progress Departure

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:19 am via: NASA
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Soaring high above the Earth aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 29 Flight Engineers Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa continued gathering and packing trash in the ISS Progress 42 cargo vehicle Monday in preparation for its departure. The supply ship is scheduled to undock from the Pirs docking compartment Saturday at 5:04 a.m. EDT and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere a few hours later, meeting a fiery demise.

Meanwhile in Russia, flight controllers conducted a routine checkout of the Kurs automated rendezvous system for both the passive side on the Zvezda service module and the active side on the Progress 42 supply ship in advance of the undocking.

The ISS Progress 45 resupply craft is being prepared for its upcoming launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with docking planned for Nov. 2.

Commander Mike Fossum conducted research with the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test science payload. In this experiment, also known as BCAT, station crew members photograph samples of polymer and colloidal particles as they change from liquids to gases, to model that phase change. The results will help scientists develop fundamental physics concepts previously cloaked by the effects of gravity.

He also worked with the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device, or SLAMMD, which measures the on-orbit mass of crew members. SLAMMD applies Newton’s Second Law of Motion (force is equal to mass times acceleration) using the known force generated by two springs against a crew member mounted on an extension arm. The resultant acceleration of the crew member is measured and the mass then calculated.

Volkov watered and took photos of wheat plants as part of the ongoing Russian Plants-2 experiment, which researches the growth and development of plants under spaceflight conditions in a special greenhouse facility.

In the station’s Kibo laboratory, Furukawa performed maintenance on the Gradient Heating Facility. The GHF is used for high quality crystal growth experiments and can reach temperatures of 1600 degrees Celsius.

Upcoming station crew members Dan Burbank, Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin will fly to the Baikonur Cosmodrome Oct. 31 for final preparations for their launch to the station on the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft on Nov. 14 (Nov. 13, U.S. time).

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